Latin America in the World Economy: Mercantile Colonialism to Global Capitalism

By Frederick Stirton Weaver | Go to book overview

market, had created a powerful slaveholding class. This class gave a definite, albeit stark, shape to Brazilian society and enabled the move to national independence to proceed under conservative political forms that included preserving a monarchy. The manner in which production in Brazil was organized, however, did not mean that its more consistent Mercantile character made Brazil any more ready for becoming a dynamic capitalist formation than the Tribute organization of the Spanish American colonies.

Moreover, after independence and when Spanish American exports finally created the conditions for stable class rule, the differences between Spanish America and Portuguese America declined markedly. The expansion of Spanish American exports as well as the Brazilian shift to coffee exports were due to European and North American economic growth, dramatic declines in transportation costs, and new kinds of foreign investment that underlay the vigor and form of the new export economies. This dynamic stemmed from a different phase of capitalist development and international political economy, described in the following chapter.


Notes
1.
Deane ( 1967) and Landes ( 1969: 41-123) contain most of the information necessary to confirm the arguments about leading sectors, firm scale, productive technology, population growth, the roles of agriculture and of the state, and the importance of eighteenth-century England's relative social and political openness. In addition, see Gatrell ( 1977) for cotton textile industrial structure in the early-nineteenth-century; Bergier ( 1973: 404-412), Mantoux ( 1961), and Marglin ( 1974) for the origins and qualities of the industrial bourgeoisie; Crouzct ( 1972) for the volume and sources of industrial capital; Bergier ( 1973) for agriculture; Lazonick ( 1974) and Mantoux ( 1962: 136-180) for the enclosures; Thompson ( 1963) for the workingclass and social control; and MacDonagh ( 1977) for the halting beginnings of government centralization in the 1830s and 1840s and governmental ineffectiveness as a regulator of the economy through the middle of the century. Mokyr ( 1985) and Crafts et al. ( 1991) are rigorous reviews of recent quantitative scholarship and debates about the Industrial Revolution; Stearns ( 1993: 17-40) is a readable narrative with conventional emphases on technical explanations and disregard for social organization and conflict and Polanyi ( 1944) is an invaluable guide to the meaning of these events and processes. E. Williams ( 1944), Barratt Brown ( 1974: 81-88), and Wallerstein ( 1974) strongly emphasize the role of benefits from colonial ventures in stimulating English industrialization.
2.
This independence did not mean, however, that industrialists all spurned the values of the landed aristocracy. Many successful industrialists bought land and strove to become accepted by traditional aristocratic society. These strivings were a favorite subject of contemporary novelists, who had diverse opinions about it.
3.
In his inimitable style, Marx described what being free meant for workers in the process of creating the wage labor system: "[Workers were] a mass that was free in a double sense, free from the old relations of clientship, bondage and servitude, and

-52-

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