By Lin Chun (auth.)
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Extra info for China and Global Capitalism: Reflections on Marxism, History, and Contemporary Politics
To deconstruct our spatial identities, the Eurasian narratives are of particular interest. The “European miracle” should be seen as only a part of the wider Eurasian phenomenon (Goody 2010). 5 and 6). “Great divergence” cannot be the whole story. Insofar as China’s early development of commodity production is recognized, for instance, it would be necessary to place that development in a universal framework of socioeconomic evolution. Countries in the East can, as some have done, develop their own variants of “capitalism” without an industrial bourgeoisie and independently of the varieties of capitalism in the West.
In terms of industrialization the Chinese advantage of comparative peace and stability became a developmental disadvantage. Skilled banks and lending activities in central and coastal China notwithstanding, deficient financialization was as much a barrier to capital accumulation as fiscal sovereignty. In contrast, financialization and fiscal sovereignty were the factors that boosted capitalism in Europe (Rosenthal and Wong 2005: 14–18). As European merchants in Asia could not draw on the ready reserves of credit they were used to at home, they sought recourse to American silver.
This mandate was part of the cultural mechanism of meritocracy and limiting state power. Descriptively then, Marx is proven to be triply wrong by a truer and fuller history. After all, the “Orient” did have its own dynamics of change (negating stagnation); changes might and did take a form other than industrial capitalism (negating the industrialism-capitalism equation); and imperialist interventions could and did obstruct indigenous development (negating both the thesis that Asian societies need external shocks for social change and the instrumentalist rationalization of colonialism).