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Empire of Cotton : A Global History (Hardcover) (Sven Beckert)

Empire of Cotton : A Global History (Hardcover) (Sven Beckert) - image 1 of 1

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WINNER OF THE BANCROFT PRIZEPULITZER PRIZE FINALISTThe epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality to the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism.Cotton is so ubiquitous as to be almost invisible, yet understanding its history is key to understanding the origins of modern capitalism. Sven Beckert’s rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world’s most significant manufacturing industry, combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in the 1780s, these men captured ancient trades and skills in Asia, and combined them with the expropriation of lands in the Americas and the enslavement of African workers to crucially reshape the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia, and how industrial capitalism gave birth to an empire, and how this force transformed the world.The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, workers and factory owners. Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the world of modern capitalism, including the vast wealth and disturbing inequalities that are with us today. The result is a book as unsettling as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist.

The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality in the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism.

Sven Beckert's rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world's most significant manufacturing industry combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in 1780, these men created a potent innovation (Beckert calls it war capitalism, capitalism based on unrestrained actions of private individuals; the domination of masters over slaves, of colonial capitalists over indigenous inhabitants), and crucially affected the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia. We see how this thing called war capitalism shaped the rise of cotton, and then was used as a lever to transform the world. The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, farmers and merchants, workers and factory owners. In this as in so many other ways, Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the modern world. The result is a book as unsettling and disturbing as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist.
Number of Pages: 615
Genre: Business + Money Management, Political Science
Sub-Genre: Labor
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Random House Inc
Author: Sven Beckert
Language: English
Street Date: December 2, 2014
TCIN: 15845697
UPC: 9780375414145
Item Number (DPCI): 247-08-9996
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$29.75
MSRPReg: $35.00 Save $5.25 (15% off)
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