Moore om kapitalismens uppkomst

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Från Jason W. Moores Capitalism in the web of life, s. 182-189.



The rise of capitalism after 1450 was made possible by an epochal shift in the scale, speed, and scope of landscape transformation in the Atlantic world and beyond. The long seventeenth century's forest clearances of the Vistula Basill and Brazil's Atlantic Rainforest occurred on a scale, and at a speed, between five and ten times greater than anything seen in medieval Europe.[49] Feudal Europe had taken centuries to deforest large expanses of western and central Europe. After 1450, comparable deforestation occurred in decades, not centuries. To take but one example, in medieval Picarcly (northeastern France), it took 200 years to clear 12,000 hectares of forest, beginning in the twelfth century.[50] Four centuries later, in northeastern Brazil at the height of the sugar boom in the 1650s, 12,000 hectares of forest would be cleared in a single year.[51] Theseare precious clues to an epochal transition in the relations of power, wealth, and nature that occurred over the course of the long medieval crisis, and the expansion that commenced after 1450.

A modest catalogue of early capitalism's transformations of land and labor, from the 1450s to the eve of the Industrial Revolution, would include the following commodity-centered and -influenced changes:


1) the agricultural revolution of the Low Countries (c. 1400-1600)-motivated by the crisis of sinking peat bogs resulting from medieval reclamation-allowed three-quarters of Holland's labor force to work outside of agriculture;[52]
2) the mining and metallurgical revolution of Central Europe, which thoroughly transformed the political ecology of forests across the region;[53]
3) the first signs of the modern sugar-slave nexus in Madeira, whose rapid rise and decline (1452-1520s) turned on rapid deforestation;[54]
4) Madeira's crisis was followed quickly by the sugar frontier's movement to São Tomé (1540s-1590s) and the first modern, large-scale plantation system, which deforested one-third of the island by 1600 and encouraged large-scale slave revolts;[55]
5) northeastern Brazil displaced São Tomé at the commanding heights of the world sugar economy after 1570, from which issued the first great wave of clearing Brazil's Atlantic rainforest, unfolding at an unprecedented pace;[56]
6) the African "slaving frontier;" meanwhile, shifted from the Gulf of Guinea to Angola and the Conga in the later sixteenth century, marking the first of several major expansions in the slave trade;[57]
7) Potosí emerged as the world's leading silver producer after 1545, and then again with its epochal restructuring after 1571, on the heels of the exhaustion of Saxon and Bohemian silver mining, itself conditioned by deforestation, declining ore quality, and Iabor unrest;[58]
8) the decline of central European mining and metallurgy also affected iron and copper production by 1550, which favored English iron (to 1620), and especially, the rise of Swedish iron and copper;[59]
9) American silver depended on European shipbuilding timber, and so Potosí's efflorescence was accompanied by the shift of the forest-products frontier from Poland-Lithuania towards southern Norway in the 1570s, followed by renewed movements into the hinterlands of Danzig (again) by the 1620s, and from there towards Königsberg, Riga and Viborg in successive turns;[60] meanwhile
10) the rise of the Vistula breadbasket in the 1550s, exporting Cheap grain to the maritime Low Countries, was followed by the agro-ecological exhaustion of Polish market-oriented agriculture in the 1630s;[61]
11) any shortfalls from the Polish agro-ecological downturn were quickly made good by the English agricultural revolution, which made England the breadbasket of Europe by 1700, albeit on an agro-ecological basis that faltered after the 1760s, as productivity stagnated;[62]
12) English forests were rapidly appropriated during seventeenth-century expansion, such that pig iron output in 1620 would not be exceeded until 1740 even with rising demand, met by imports-especially from Sweden;
13) and even Sweden's sylvan abundance was quickly diminished, as iron devoured the forests with such speed that the centers of iron production moved quickly towards new forest regions;[63]
14) the stagnation of English iron output after 1620 stimulated iron's movement into Ireland, where fuel costs were much lower. In just a century, the Emerald Isle's forest declined from 12.5 percent to just 2 percent, such that little iron would be produced by the mid-eighteenth century;[64]
15) the Dutch energy regime, centered on extracting Cheap domestic peat, reached its high point in the seventeenth century, but easily-tapped zones were quickly depleted, and output fell sharply after 1750;[65]
16) in Southeast Asia, the Dutch imposed a new colonial regime between the 1650s and 1670s, securing a monopoly over the clove trade during the 1650s through the large-scale removal of "unauthorized" clove trees, the large-scale relocation of indigenous populations from the interior into new colonial administrative units suitable for labor drafts, and the establishment of new shipyards outside the Batavian core;[66]
17) from the early seventeenth century, wetlands across the Atlantic world were reclaimed, often by Dutch engineers, from England to Pernambuco and Suriname, Rome to Göteborg;[67]
18) the great burst of Iberian and Italian expansion during the "first" sixteenth century (c. 1450-1557) produced a relative, but widespread, exhaustion of Mediterranean forests-beginning earlier for the Italians and Portuguese, somewhat later for Spain-and especially their capacity to supply quality shipbuilding timber, by the early seventeenth century;[68] resulting in
19) the relocation of Spanish shipbuilding to Cuba, where one-third of the fleet was built by 1700, and the relatively modest yet significant expansion of Portuguese shipbuilding in Salvador da Bahia and Goa;[69] this was followed in the eighteenth century by
20) the emergence of major shipbuilding centers and significant frontiers for timber and naval stores in North America during the eighteenth century;[70]
21) the relentless geographical expansion of forest product and shipbuilding frontiers were bound up with the increasingly vast fleets of herring, cod, and whaling vessels that searched for and devoured the North Atlantic's sources of maritime protein;[71]
22) the search for fish was complemented by the search for furs. While the fur trade contributed but slightly to world accumulation, its steady advance (and serialized extermination of fur-bearing animals) across North America (Siberia too), stretching by the eighteenth century into the expansive Great Lakes region, encouraged significant infrastructures of colonial power;[72]
23) the expansion of the world sugar market and the relative decline of Brazilian sugar after 1650 favored successive sugar revolutions in the West Indies, leaving a trail of African graves and denuded landscapes in its wake;[73]
24) human ecologies too were transformed in many ways, not least through the sharply uneven "cerealization" of peasant diets-and the "meatification" of aristocratic and bourgeois diets-within Europe after 1550;[74]
25) the resurgence of Mexican silver production in the eighteenth century and the attendant deforestation of already-thin Mexican forests;[75]
26) the revolution in English coal production from 1530;[76] and, perhaps most significantly,
27) the epoch-making "Columbian exchange;' as Old World diseases, animals, and crops flowed into the New World, and New World crops, such as potatoes and maize, flowed into the Old World.[77]


Perhaps, one might object, these landscape transformations were nevertheless the output of an essentially preindustrial civilization? This is the commonsense point of departure for the Anthropocene argument. Let us take industrialization as consisting of two decisive moments of capitalist technics. One is industrialization as a shorthand for the rising mass of machinery and inputs relative to labor-time-Marx's rising technical cornposition of capital. It might be more fruitful to call these processes mechanization. The other is industrialization as a shorthand for standardization and rationalization, prefiguring, in embryonic form, the assembly line and Taylorism of the twentieth century.[78] If this rough-and-ready definition holds, we are hardly short of examples in the three centuries before Watt's rotary steam engine: the printing press, perhaps the most prefigurative advance in labor productivity with a two-hundredfold increase after 1450, such that twenty million books were printed by 1500;[79] the sugar mill in the colonies, successively boosting labor productivity, and the sugar refinery in the metropoles);[80] very large blast furnaces in iron-making;[81] new ships, such as the Dutch fluyt, leading to a fourfold increase in labor productivity in shipping;[82] a new shipbuilding regime, led by the Dutch, which tripled labor productivity by combining Smithian specialization (simplified tasks), the standardization of parts, organizational innovation (integrated supply systems), and technical change (sawmills to displace costly skilled labor);[83] the rapid expansion of iron implements in agriculture;[84] the mercury-amalgamation process in New World silver production;[85] the elaboration and diffusion of screw-presses;[86] the saigerprozess in the Central European copper-silver metals complex, and after 1540, the rod-engine for effective drainage, which reached Sweden by 1590;[87] the quick diffusion of the "Saxony Wheel" in textile manufacturing, trebling labor productivity, accompanied by the diffusion of fulling and napping mills, advancing productivity still further;[88] the number of water mills, already widely deployed in the medieval era, doubled in the three centuries after 1450, tripling of aggregate horsepower;[89] the extraordinary multiplication of spring-driven clocks.[90] Nor does this exhaust the list.

What do these transformations suggest? A general observation would point towards a qualitative shift in the relations between land and labor, production and power. If some of these examples look more like a quantitative amplification of medieval developments, as a totality they embodied a qualitative shift. And if many of these transformations fit nicely into Marx's distinction between manufacturing and machinofacture, some look a lot like modern industry: especially the sugar plantation, shipbuilding, and large-scale metallurgy. Any adequate explanation of this qualitative shift must recognize that there was a transition from control of land as a direct relation of surplus appropriation to control of land as a condition for advancing labor productivity within commodity production. This transition was of course tremendously uneven and messy. Hence, where peasant cultivation persisted across early modern Europe, there was no fundamental rupture with the medieval rhythm of landscape transformation[91]-except where, as in seventeenth century Poland, peasants were directly pushed towards sylvan zones by cash-crop cultivation.[92] Swidden is swidden; under capitalist conditions of appropriation, it becomes a commodity frontier. Wherever primary commodity production penetrated, however, the tempo of landscape transformation accelerated. Why should this be? Although the pace of technical change did indeed quicken-and the diffusion of techniques even more so-in the "first" sixteenth century (1450-1557), this was not enough to compel such an epochal shift in landscape transformation. That shift pivoted the inversion of the labor-land relation (land used as a force of production) and the ascendance of labor productivity as a metric of wealth, premised on appropriating Cheap Natures. Here we may glimpse the tenuous and tentative formation of capitalism as a regime of abstract social labor, and the emergant disciplines of socially necessary labor-time.


Notes

49 Moore, "Ecology and the Rise of Capitalism" (2007); "Amsterdam Is Standing on Norway' Part II" (2010); H.C. Darby, "The Clearing of Woodland in Europe," in Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth, ed. W.L. Thomas, Jr. (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1956), 183-216; M. Williams, Deforesting the Earth (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003).
50 R. Fossier, La Terre et les Hommes en Picardie jusqu'a la Fin du Xllle Siecle, 2 vols (Paris: B. Nauwelaerts, 1968), 315.
51 Moore, "Ecology and Rise of Capitalism" (2007), ch. 6.
52 B. van Bavel, "The Medieval Origins of Capitalism in the Netherlands," BMGN-Low Countries Historical Review 125, nos. 2-3 (2010): 45-79; R. Brenner, "The Low Countries in the Transition to Capitalism;" Journal of Agrarian Change 1, no. 2 (2001): 169-241.
53 J.U. Nef, The Conquest of the Material World (New York: Meridian, 1964); J. Vlachovic, "Slovak Copper Boom in World Markets of the Sixteenth and in the First Quarter of the Seventeenth Centuries;" Studia Hislorica Slovaca 1 (1963): 63-95; Moore, "Ecology and the Rise of Capitalism" (2007).
54 Moore, "Madeira, Sugar, and the Conquest of Nature, Part I" (2009); "Madeira, Sugar, and the Conquest of Nature, Part II" (2010).
55 J. Vansina, "Quilombos on São Tomé, or In Search of Original Sources;' History in Africa 23 (1996): 453-9; B.L. Solow, "Capitalism and Slavery in the Exceedingly Long Run;' in British Capitalism and Caribbean Slavery, ed. B.L. Solow & S.L. Engerman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 51-77.
56 S.B. Schwartz, Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985); W. Dean, With Broad Ax and Firebrand (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).
57 J.C. Miller, Way of Death: Merchant: Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade 1730-1830 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988).
58 P. Bakewell, Miners of the Red Mountain. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1984; Moore, "Madeira, Sugar, and the Conquest of Nature, Part II" (2010).
59 U. Sundberg, "An Energy Analysis of the Production at the Great Copper Mountain of Falun During the Mid-Seventeenth Century;' International Journal of Forest Engineering 1, no. 3 (1991): 4- 16; K-H. Hildebrand, Swedish Iron in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, trans. P. Brillen Austin (Stockholm: Jernkontorets Bergshistoriska Skriftserie, 1992); P. King, "The Product'ion and Consumption of Bar Iron in Early Modern England and Wales," Economic History Review 58, no. 1 (2005): 1-33.
60 Moore, '"Amsterdam Is Standing on Norway' Part II" (2010).
61 W. Szcygielski, "Die Okonomische Aktivitat des Polnischen Adels im 16-18. Jahrhundert," Studia Historiae Oeconomicae 2 (1967): 83-101; Moore, '"Amsterdam Is Standing on Norway' Part II" (2010).
62 M. Overton, Agricultural Revolution in England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); R. V. Jackson, "Growth and Deceleration in English Agriculture, 1660-1790," Economic History Review 38 (1985): 333-51.
63 P. King, "The Production and Consumption of Bar Iron in Early Modern England and Wales," Economic History Review 58, no. 1 (2005): 1-33; B. Thomas, The Industrial Revolution and the Atlantic Economy (New York: Routledge, 1993); R. Fouquet, Heat, Power and Light: Revolutions in Energy Services (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2008), 59- 60; P. Mathias, The First Industrial Nation: The Economic History of Britain, 1700- 1914 (London: Methuen & Co., 1969); K-H. Hildebrand, Swedish Iron in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Stockholm: Jernkontorets bergshistoriska skriftserie, 1992).
64 R. Kane, The Industrial Resources of Ireland, 2d ed. (Dublin: Hodges and Smith, 1845), 3; E. McCracken, The Irish Woods Since Tudor Times (Newton Abbot, Ireland: David & Charles, 1971), 15, 51 et passim; E. Neeson, "Woodland in History and Culture," in Nature in Ireland: A Scientific nnd Cultural History, eds. J.W. Foster and H.C.G. Chesney, 143-56 (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1997).
65 J.W. de Zeeuw, "Peat and the Dutch Golden Age" (1978).
66 C. Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire, 1600-1800 (London: Hutchinson, 1965), 111-12; C. Zerner, "Through a Green Lens: The Construction of Customary Environmental Law and Community in Indonesia's Maluku lslands;" Law and Society Review 28, no. 5 (1994): 1079-122; P. Boomgaard, "Forest Management and Exploitation in Colonial Java, 1677-1897," Forest and Conservation History 36, no. 1 (1992): 4-14; N.L. Peluso, Rich Forests, Poor People (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 36-43.
67 C.H. Wilson, The Dutch Republic and the Civilisation of the Seventeenth Century (New York: McGraw Hill, 1968), 78-81; T.D. Rogers, The Deepest Wounds (PhD dissertation, Department of History, Duke University, 2005), 51; J.F Richards, The Unending Frontier (2003), 193-241; P. Boomgaard, "Forest Management and Exploitation in Colonial Java" (1992).
68 Braudel, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, Vol. I (1972); C. Cipolla, Before the lndustrial Revolution: European Society 1000-1700 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1976); Moore, "'Amsterdam Is Standing on Norway' Part I" (2010); J.T. Wing, "Keeping Spain Afloat;" Environmental History 17 (2012): 116-45; F.C. Lane, "Venetian Shipping During the Commercial Revolution;' American Historical Review 38, no. 2 (1933): 219-39.
69 J.H. Parry, The Spanish Seaborne Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966); F.W.O. Morton, "The Royal Timber in Late Colonial Bahia; Hispanic American Historical Review 58, no. 1 (1978): 41-61; C. Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire (1965). 56-7.
70 J. Perlin, A Forest Journey (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989); Williams, Deforesting the Earth (2003).
71 J.F. Richards, The Unending Frontier (2003), 547-616; B. Poulsen, "Talking Fish," in Beyond the Catch, eds. L. Sieking and D. Abreu-Ferreira (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 387-412.
72 E.R. Wolf, Europe and the People without History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 158-94; Richards, The Unending Frontier (2003).
73 Watts, The West Indies (1987).
74 Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life (1981), 190-9; J. Komlos, "Height and Social Status in Eighteenth-Century Germany;" Journal of Interdisciplinary History 20, no. 4 (1990): 607-621; J. Komlos, "Shrinking in a Growing Economy?" (1998).
75 P.J. Bakewell, Silver Mining and Society in Colonial Mexico (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971); D. Studnicki-Gizbert and D. Schecter. "The Environmental Dynamics of a Colonial Fuel-Rush;' Environmental History 15, no. 1 (2010): 94-119.
76 M. Weissenbacher, Sources of Power (New York: Praeger, 2009); J.U. Nef, The Rise of the British Coal Industry (London: Routledge, 1966 [1932 orig.]), 19-20, 36, 208.
77 Crosby, The Columbian Exchange (1972); idem., Ecological Imperialism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).
78 This shorthand applies not only to machineries but also the rationalization of human and extra-human relations necessary to work these machines-Taylor's time-and-motion studies in the early twentieth century (1914; also Braverman, Labor and Monopoly Capital (1974)) are one indication of the symbolic coding, mapping, and "rational" reorganizations of human/extra-human relations attendant upon capitalism's successive industrial revolutions, but hardly new to the twentieth century. Consider, for example, meatpacking's "dis-assembly lines" in the antebellum United States (Cronon, Nature's Metropolis [1991) or the rationalization of labor processes and landscapes necessary for the early modern sugar plantation (S. W. Mintz, Sweetness and Power [New York: Penguin, 1985]; Moore, "Ecology and the Rise of Capitalism" [2007]. Moving beyond the immediate process of production, one can see a long line of such rationalizations in play across the time and space of early capitalism-suggested in various if partial ways by Weber's formal rationality (1947), Foucault's biopolitics, and Sombart's thesis on the "art of calculation" double-entry bookkeeping, a far from exhaustive list! See, respectively, M. Weber, The Theory of Social and Economic Organization (New York: Free Press, 1947); M. Foucault, Society Must be Defended; W. Sombart, The Quintessence of Capitalism, M. Epstein, trans. and ed. (New York: E.P. Dutton &Co., 1915).
79 L. Febvre and H. Martin, The Coming of the Book (London: Verso, 1976), 186; A. Maddison, Growth and Interaction in the World Economy (Washington, D.C.: AEI Press, 2005), 18.
80 J. Daniels and C. Daniels. "The Origin of the Sugarcane Roller Mill," Technology and Culture 29, no. 3 (1988): 493-535; A. van der Woude, "Sources of Energy in the Dutch Golden Age: 'The Case of Holland;' NEHA-Jaarboek voor economische, bedrijfs, en techniekgeschiedenis 66 (2003): 64-84.
81 Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life (1981), 378-9.
82 R.W. Unger, "Technology and Industrial Organization: Dutch Shipbuilding to 1800," Business History 17, no. 1 (1975): 56-72; J. Lucassen, and R.W. Unger, "Shipping, productivity and economic growth," in Shipping and Economic Growth 1350-1850, ed. R.W. Unger (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 3-44.
83 The new sawmill technology spread rapidly and "could be found in Brittany by 1621, Sweden in 1635, Manhattan in 1623, and soon after Cochin, Batavia, and Mauritius," P. Warde, "Energy and Natural Resource Dependency in Europe, 1600-1900" (BWPI Working Paper 77, University of Manchester, 2009), 7.
84 R. Wilson, "Transport as a Factor in the History of European Economic Development," Journal of European Economic History 2, no. 2 (1973): 320-37; de Vries, "The Labour Market," in The Dutch Economy in the Golden Age, eds. K. Davids and I,. Noordegraaf (Amsterdam: Nederlandsch Economisch-Historisch Archief), 1993): 55-78; L. Noordegraaf, "Dutch industry in the Golden Age," in The Dutch Economy in the Golden Age, eds. K. Davids and L. Noordegraaf (Amsterdam: Nederlandsch Economisch Historisch Archief), 131-57.
85 P. Bairoch, "Agriculture and the Industrial Revolution, 1700-1914," (1973), 452-506.
86 P. Bakewell, "Mining" in Colonial Spanish America, edited by L. Bethell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 203-49.
87 H. Kellenbenz, "Technology in the Age of the Scientific Revolution 1500-1700," in The Fontana Economic History of Europe, II, ed. C.M. Cipolla (London: Fontana/Collins, 1974), 177-272.
88 I. Blanchard, International Lead Production and Trade in the 'Age of the Saigerprozess' (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1995); G. Hollister-Short, "The First Half-Century of the Rod-Engine (c. 1540-1600)," Bulletin of the Peak District Mines Historical Society 12, no. 3 (1994): 83-90.
89 J-C. Debeir, et al., In the Servitude of Power (London: Zed, 1991 [1986 orig.]), 90-l, 76. 90 D. Landes, Revolution in Time (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983).
91 Cf. N. Plack, "Agrarian Reform and Ecological Change During the Ancien Regime," French History 19, no. 2 (2005): 189-210.
92 J. Blum, "Rise of Serfdom in Eastern Europe," American Historical Review 62, no. 4 (1957): 807-36; Moore, '"Amsterdam Is Standing on Norway' Part II" (2010).