Logs for Capital: The Timber Industry and Capitalist Enterprise in the Nineteenth Century

Logs for Capital: The Timber Industry and Capitalist Enterprise in the Nineteenth Century

Logs for Capital: The Timber Industry and Capitalist Enterprise in the Nineteenth Century

Logs for Capital: The Timber Industry and Capitalist Enterprise in the Nineteenth Century

Synopsis

This study examines the process of capital accumulation at the level of the business firm, linking it to the macro-level of the world-economy as explicated by Hopkins and Wallerstein. Focusing upon the timber industry in the nineteenth century, and using primary archival material, the work analyzes how capital operates in the resource sector in the world-economy. The purpose is to refine further our understanding of capitalism as a mode of social organization and production, and in the process, refine contemporary theories of social change.

Excerpt

The research for this book had its beginnings a decade ago. At that time, among certain circles, there was a felt need to undertake studies of long-term social change in order to explain capitalist transformations. a move was also underway to understand and explain the transformations from a different perspective, one that treats the subject matter in a holistic, socio-historical fashion by transcending the boundaries of the social sciences and crossing over to the field of history. This book is an outcome of this movement and endeavors to examine within the framework of the capitalist world-economy the dynamics of capital accumulation during the nineteenth century. the thrust of the analysis is focused at the level of the individual capitalist enterprise, or what is usually termed individual capital. This focus is designed to enhance and sharpen our understanding of how individual capital accumulates and reproduces itself over the long term and to further our understanding of the world in which capital operates. the nature of such a world in which capital operates has been referred to earlier by Samir Amin (1974) as the accumulation of capital on the world-scale.

The initiative to examine capitalist transformations over the long term provides us with the opportunity to understand what has not changed qualitatively. Very often, what is taken as a qualitative transformation, when placed and understood within a long term socio-historical process, turns out to be a quantitative change. To no surprise, an examination of the business activities of the capitalist enterprise during the nineteenth century reveals similar functions and activities that are considered by some scholars to be definitive and unique to those of twentieth-century capitalist enterprises--the multinationals. Those features of twentieth century-

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