Empire of Cotton

Empire of Cotton

A Global History

eBook - 2014
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The 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.From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: 2014
Branch Call Number: Overdrive
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. New York : Vintage, 2014. Requires OverDrive Read (file size: N/A KB) or Adobe Digital Editions (file size: 48519 KB) or Kobo app or compatible Kobo device (file size: N/A KB) or Amazon Kindle (file size: N/A KB)
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc
ISBN: 9780385353250


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Mar 17, 2018

Fantastic information in this book about how industrial capitalism, starting with the cotton trade, was only able to grow strong through the use of "war capitalism": slavery, theft of land, protectionism, and colonialism.

It tied together lots of questions in my mind about how the UK built a privileged place in the world for European nations.

It is a long book, and parts did get tiresome. However, the strength of evidence did help solidify my understanding.

Sep 12, 2016

A compelling read. Cotton, that is so commonplace today, was known to be useful to those societies where the crop grew in nature - India, Mexico, Peru, elsewhere in South Asia and other places. But NOT in Europe. Yet beginning in the 18th century and throughout the 19th cotton became the basis for the success of the economies of Britain, France, Germany Russia, China and later Japan and the US. But the United States initially had a hand in the success of British cotton manufacture because the American south became the preferred producer of raw cotton that the mills of Manchester relied upon. The Industrial Revolution in Britain was based on cotton and the US grew economically largely because of its slavery based cotton plantations in the south. But with emancipation of the slaves, the whole dynamic changed. The so-called Cotton Famine in the late 1860s was the beginning of the fall of British dominance in the world cotton trade and by 1960 it represented less than 1% of the world cotton manufacture.


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Mar 17, 2018

ranvapa thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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