World Accumulation 1492-1789 by Andre Gunder Frank

By Andre Gunder Frank

This booklet reviews the consequences of cyclical fluctuations within the strategy of capital accumulation - the sixteenth-century growth, the seventeenth-century melancholy, the cyclical swings among the fantastic Revolution in England in 1688 and the Peace of Paris in 1763, the melancholy and the yank, French, and commercial Revolutions among 1762 and 1789. Frank connects the downswings or crises in accumulation to the altering management positions as they shifted from Italy to Spain and Portugal after which to Holland and Britain. He devotes specific recognition to the successive incorporation into the one international approach of Asia, Africa, and the Americas, whose economies and societies have been reworked to give a contribution to the buildup of capital in Western Europe and later in North the USA via exploitation, dependence, and unequal trade.

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Their empire and civilization was still in rapid ascendancy when Pizarro arrived in 153 2 . In several aspects Inca society was more highly developed than even that of the Aztecs, including agricultural terracing and irrigation, mining and fishing, transportation (using the llama as a pack animal), and communication by courier, which they used to extend their conquest, dominion, and division of labor. Given more time, the Incas might perhaps have incorporated into their empire the adjacent highland peoples of present-day Colombia and Venezuela as well as the hymara of Peru and the Guarani of Paraguay.

Then declining sugar prices at the turn of the sixteenth century had led to a reduction in Portuguese sugar production. But a renewed though gradual rise in the price of sugar after 1 5 10, which was probably generated in part by the arrival of Spanish gold from the Caribbean (which lowered the price of gold relati\ e to the commodities it could buy), stimulated a renewed increase in Portuguese sugar production after 1520, first in the ,Atlantic Islands and after 1530 incipiently in new plantations in Sortheastern Brazil.

What were the consequences of these developments in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, as well as in Europe and the world generally? We may examine them in turn. 2 . Overseas Expansion from Europe Throughout the sixteenth century and for part of the seventeenth century as well, the new ocean route to the oriental spices was little more than the continuation of the old spice trade by additional means: it did not yet replace the overland route nor the ‘4rabs and Italians who depended on it. But this sea route, as well as others across the 4tlantic and elsewhere, served to lay the basis for what would be determinant for several centuries to come: naval supremacy, militarily and commercially.

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