“This lofty mountain of silver could conquer the whole world”: Potosí and the political ecology of underdevelopment, 1545-1800
Jason Moore ()
Additional contact information
Jason Moore: Umeå University
The Journal of Philosophical Economics, 2010, vol. 4, issue 1, 58-103
By the 1570’s, Potosí, and its silver, had become the hub of a commodity revolution that reorganized Peru’s peoples and landscapes to serve capital and empire. This was a decisive moment in the world ecological revolution of the long seventeenth century. Primitive accumulation in Peru was particularly successful: the mita’s spatial program enabled the colonial state to marshal a huge supply of low-cost and tractable labor in the midst of sustained demographic contraction. The relatively centralized character of Peru’s mining frontier facilitated imperial control in a way the more dispersed silver frontiers of New Spain did not. Historical capitalism has sustained itself on the basis of exploiting, and thereby undermining, a vast web of socio-ecological relations. As may be observed in colonial Peru, the commodity frontier strategy effected both the destruction and creation of premodern socio-ecological arrangements.
Keywords: world-systems analysis; environmental history; political ecology; capitalism as world-ecology; political economy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: P10 P48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:bus:jphile:v:4:y:2010:i:1:p:58-103
Access Statistics for this article
The Journal of Philosophical Economics is currently edited by Valentin Cojanu
More articles in The Journal of Philosophical Economics from Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics Contact information at EDIRC.
Series data maintained by Valentin Cojanu ().