Afterthoughts on Material Civilization and Capitalism (The by Fernand Braudel

By Fernand Braudel

"In this concise book... Braudel summarizes the large issues of his three-volume Civilisation materielle et capitalisme, 1400-1800 and provides his reflections at the historian's craft and at the nature of the historic imagination... Taken as a complete, the ebook is provocative and stimulating. infrequently, it rises to revelation whilst or 3 sentences of compressed yet terrific prose strength us to re-evaluate the occasions of a whole century or the background of a continent." -- American old evaluate.

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Example text

Irritated, one shoos it out the door, and almost immediately it climbs in through the window. There 45 AFfERTHOUGHTS is no adequate substitute for this word, and that fact alone is symptomatic. As Andrew Shonfield, the American economist, says, the best reason for using the word capitalism, no matter how much people run it down, is that no one has found a better word. It undoubtedly has the disadvantage of dragging countless controversies and discussions along after one. But these controversies-whatever their merit-cannot be avoided; we cannot carryon discussions and behave as if they did not exist.

In this there is an element of truth, an element of bad faith, and also some self-deception. Can we forget how many times the market was diverted or distorted and prices were arbitrarily fixed by de facto or legal monopolies? And above all, even if we accept the virtues of the competitive market (" the first computer available to men," according to Oskar Lange), we must at least point out that the market was but an imperfect link between production and consumption, if only because to some degree it remained incomplete.

Aided by the new rise of the Atlantic, the general economy, trade, and even the monetary supply expanded. And once again the rapid growth of the market economy-which faithfully kept its appointment at Amsterdam-supported on its broad back the expanded constructions of capitalism. All things considered, I believe Max Weber's error stems essentially from his exaggeration of capitalism's role as promoter of the modern world. But the basic problem does not lie there. Indeed, the real fate of capitalism was determined by its encounter with social hierarchies.

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