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Eurocentrism and the Origins of Capitalism

Kristin Plys
Review (Fernand Braudel Center)
Vol. 36, No. 1 (2013), pp. 41-81
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/revifernbraucent.36.1.41
Page Count: 41
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Eurocentrism and the Origins of Capitalism
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Abstract

To understand contemporary power—especially war and finance—it is important to examine the origins of global capitalism. This article generates an alternate, modified world-systems perspective that engages with the notion of Eurocentrism. Processes of trade and exchange, relations of production, political power, and military power in Mughal South Asia and in Ming China serve as examples used to describe spaces of power within the world economy before the reorientation of centers of power from Asia to Europe. The development of modern haute finance in the Italian city-states from 1300–1600 are then detailed as they developed while the centers of world power remained in Asia. The development of modern haute finance is then described as it generated “capitalistic” incarnations of class struggle, state making, war making, and ideology/culture. Finally, the key role of Genoese finance capital in the Spanish plunder of Latin American silver is discussed, including its contri-bution to a global reorientation of power from Asia to Europe.

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