Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"In Volume 3 of Capital  Marx had described Venice and Genoa as urban republics where the merchants ‘subordinated the state more securely to themselves’, and implicit in some combination of Ruthven’s argument with my own is the further crucial thesis that this singularly failed to happen anywhere in the Islamic world. This ties in with a second and to me even more self-evident explanation , which is the one Mielants proposes in his book The Origins of Capitalism and the “Rise of the West”, namely, that the failure of commercial capitalism in the Islamic world was essentially a failure of mercantilism. It is a striking fact that there was never any Islamic counterpart of the West’s violent mercantilist expansion. Again, the decisive factor here is the very different ways in which commercial capital and the state were linked to each other. The powerful state backing that English merchants received from the monarchy, what Brenner calls the ‘Crown-company partnership’, had absolutely no equivalent among the numerous dynasties that, like the Ottomans, were willing to encourage trade but unwilling or incapable of the kind of aggressive expansion that the Portuguese monarchy unleashed in the opening years of the sixteenth century. Of course, once the European powers embarked on their expansion into Asian markets, Islamic commercial networks were a prime target across the whole region. The violence with which the Portuguese attacked and dismantled those networks was lucidly documented in the Kerala historian Zainuddin b. ‛Abd al-‛Aziz’s late-sixteenth century history called Tuhfat al-Mujāhidīn."

Islam and Capitalism

Note: I think there is an overgeneralization when the aithor talks a out "Islamism" nowadays. "Islamism" has different colours.
Correction: Shadly ben Jedid overthrew Boumédienne in Algeria not in Tunisia. 

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