Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Samir Amin's "Eurocentrism"

Added it to the "Good Books" section. What Amin tries to do in it is give an analysis of the rise of capitalism and development of the west from a non-western perspective by looking at the west as an extension of the ancient and mediterranian worlds. Argues that what happened in the west wasn't in any way something due to an indefinable unique quality that the west possesses and the rest of the world doesn't, but that being on the fringe of the civilized world, i.e. the Muslim world and the world of Asia, allowed the west to be more flexable. This re-envisioning is also important because it corrects a major weakness in many sectors of leftist theory, which is this: people can somewhat explain how capitalism developed out of feudalism and out of the classical past and point to how socialism could be a necessary corrective to capitalism, and people can explain how the development of capitalism depended also on the plunder of non-European societies, but they have a really hard time explaining from this sort of analysis what non-European societies are about. Why they evolved like they did. Marx, and all of this is Marxist mostly, invented the clunky and somewhat racist notion of the "Asiatic mode of production" or Asian despotism, arguing that non-European states were so dictatorially run that social change and development was simply not possible. "Eurocentrism" is a corrective to this notion.

By the way, I'm trying to limit the amount of books I put up on the right. If I put up every interesting book that I've come across that has something to do with the left, globalization, economics, counterculture, in the last seven years it would be completely unwieldly. Will maybe put up anti-fascist books and links again.

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