Re: Reply to Nikolai

Wed, 26 Feb 1997 12:44:45 -0800 (PST)
George Modelski (

To James M. Blaut:
Of course there was no "European miracle", and no
"European expansion" either.
But there was evolutionary potential, ca. 1250-1450, most
clearly exemplified, though not confined to, Genoa and Venice. These were
republics, engaged in long-distance trading that was supported by their
own navies, bases, and alliances, and whose activity reinvigorated the
regional spaces in the Mediterranean and Western Europe. They were not
peripheral to anything, but were in charge of the Western end the then
world system route, the Silk Roads. The system they created in the
Mediterranean and the coastal areas of Western Europe became the model that
Portugal in particular employed in creating the global system after 1450.
In Frederic Lane's terms, Genoa and Venice were the motors of the
Commercial-Maritime Revolution that Portugal and Spain then projected
world-wide in the next era of world system evolution. That was the
positive evolutionary potential. By contrast, China, India, or the
Mongol world empire, or Timur, lacked evolutionary potential. GM

On 24 Feb 1997, James M. Blaut wrote:

> Nikolai:
> You points are all valid, in my opinion, if they refer to processes occurring
> after the late 16th century -- after the huge accumulation of gold and silver,
> and after the beginnings of the slave trade and slave plantations. In other
> words, I believe that nothing that existed in Europe prior to 1492 suggests a
> potential for a later "rise of Europe" above other civilizations. Colonialism
> started the process and there was no "European miracle." I defend this position
> in my book and in articles published in the journals _Science and Society_
> (1989) and _Political Geography_ (1992).
> Jim