The Half Has Never Been Told--Extended Review

WJC

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jgoodguy

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A common objection is that Baptist does not rigorously define capitalism which is part of the Title.

The index entry for capitalism on page 393
Capitalism, xviii–xix, 42–43, 77–83, 85–92, 127–131, 141–143, 178–185, 191, 229–233, 239–243, 257–258, 292, 317– 323
does not lead to any definition of capitalism that I saw. In fact, the word 'capitalism' seems to appear in only 2 of the page ranges noted in the index; P91,P92.

Let us take a look at references to the word capitalism within the book to see if a definition of capitalism is there.

P16.
In so doing, historians were to some extent only repeating pre–Civil War debates: abolitionists had depicted slavery not only as a psychopathic realm of whipping, rape, and family separation, but also as a flawed economic system that was inherently less efficient than the free-labor capitalism developing in the North.

P51.
The interlinked expansion of both slavery and financial capitalism driving force in an emerging national economic system that benefited elites up and down the Atlantic coast as well as throughout the backcountry.

P91
Usually, we think of the architects of modern capitalism as rational.

P92
Instead, they figure out how to reap their benefits in order to rip market share and profits away from other capitalists who are invested in status-quo technologies and staler business models. They are architects of the dynamic of “creative destruction” that iconoclastic economist Joseph Schumpeter identified as the core engine of capitalism’s growth.

P94
These writers’ hands could grasp much more than the hands of merchants and traders in the past because the new dynamic growth of Western capitalism was producing massive quantities of what the great twentieth-century theologian Robert Farrar Capon called “right-handed power”: the strength to force an outcome.

P169
He and the new slave traders transformed the selling of human beings in the southeastern United States into a modern retrovirus, an economic organism that respected no ties or traditions and rewired everything around itself so that capitalism’s enzymes of creation and destruction could flow unimpeded.

P253
Yet G.T.T. on the grand scale was a self-inflicted choking-off of ties to worldwide credit markets. After this, southwestern entrepreneurs would never again participate as equal partners in the worldwide expansion of capitalism.

P346
Through the booms and the crashes emerged a financial system that continuously catalyzed the development of US capitalism.

I do not see a definition of capitalism.
 

RobertP

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Nov 11, 2009
Location
Dallas
A common objection is that Baptist does not rigorously define capitalism which is part of the Title.

The index entry for capitalism on page 393
Capitalism, xviii–xix, 42–43, 77–83, 85–92, 127–131, 141–143, 178–185, 191, 229–233, 239–243, 257–258, 292, 317– 323
does not lead to any definition of capitalism that I saw. In fact, the word 'capitalism' seems to appear in only 2 of the page ranges noted in the index; P91,P92.

Let us take a look at references to the word capitalism within the book to see if a definition of capitalism is there.

P16.
In so doing, historians were to some extent only repeating pre–Civil War debates: abolitionists had depicted slavery not only as a psychopathic realm of whipping, rape, and family separation, but also as a flawed economic system that was inherently less efficient than the free-labor capitalism developing in the North.

P51.
The interlinked expansion of both slavery and financial capitalism driving force in an emerging national economic system that benefited elites up and down the Atlantic coast as well as throughout the backcountry.

P91
Usually, we think of the architects of modern capitalism as rational.

P92
Instead, they figure out how to reap their benefits in order to rip market share and profits away from other capitalists who are invested in status-quo technologies and staler business models. They are architects of the dynamic of “creative destruction” that iconoclastic economist Joseph Schumpeter identified as the core engine of capitalism’s growth.

P94
These writers’ hands could grasp much more than the hands of merchants and traders in the past because the new dynamic growth of Western capitalism was producing massive quantities of what the great twentieth-century theologian Robert Farrar Capon called “right-handed power”: the strength to force an outcome.

P169
He and the new slave traders transformed the selling of human beings in the southeastern United States into a modern retrovirus, an economic organism that respected no ties or traditions and rewired everything around itself so that capitalism’s enzymes of creation and destruction could flow unimpeded.

P253
Yet G.T.T. on the grand scale was a self-inflicted choking-off of ties to worldwide credit markets. After this, southwestern entrepreneurs would never again participate as equal partners in the worldwide expansion of capitalism.

P346
Through the booms and the crashes emerged a financial system that continuously catalyzed the development of US capitalism.

I do not see a definition of capitalism.
There are better hills to die on than this one. Somebody didn’t get the memo.
 

wausaubob

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I have borrowed Roger Ransom's other book, Conflict and Compromise, Cambridge University Press 1989. Mr. Ransom's position seems to be that the affect of slavery was very modern. The enslaved men worked long hours, were supervised by a work gang manager, had few or no days off, and the women had to work too. He does not spend many words on examining physical coercion. Physical punishment may have been threatened more than administered. I think that Ransom makes it clear that not even free self-employed farmers worked as hard as plantation slaves worked. After the Civil War ended, the unwillingness of free blacks to work 14 hour days, 7 days a week was interpreted as laziness. Mr. Ransom's book did not identify any other class of southern workers who were willing, when free, to work the hours required of the enslaved.
 
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wausaubob

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Location
Denver, CO
I think Mr. Baptist's theory is ill formed. It was the railroads that fueled the industrial revolution. It was a transforming technology, which accelerated its affect once the southern Democrats were unable to block or regulate the railroads until late in the 19th century.
http://cprr.org/Museum/RR_Development.html
The geography of the United States was completely transformed within 30 years of the Civil War, after slavery was discontinued.
 
Joined
Oct 3, 2005
I think Mr. Baptist's theory is ill formed. It was the railroads that fueled the industrial revolution. It was a transforming technology, which accelerated its affect once the southern Democrats were unable to block or regulate the railroads until late in the 19th century.
http://cprr.org/Museum/RR_Development.html
The geography of the United States was completely transformed within 30 years of the Civil War, after slavery was discontinued.
While I don't want to discount the influence of railroads in industrial development, the industrial revolution began long before the railroads, both in Britain and New England
 

wausaubob

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Location
Denver, CO
While I don't want to discount the influence of railroads in industrial development, the industrial revolution began long before the railroads, both in Britain and New England
I agree with that. The railroads were a symptom of the rise of national banking and the interbank lending of deposits. Since the national banks could not make real estate loans, they lent money to railroads and other industrial enterprises. The railroads in turn made mass production techniques profitable because the resulting abundance could be distributed, by railroads.
Noting the example of England, one might turn to Belgium and then Germany as demonstrating the same point.
So while cheap cotton fibers were a factor in the early stages of the industrial revolution, those fibers could have been produced with wage laborers, or the fibers could have been wool or flax fibers.
I respect what Mr. Baptist attempted to do, but I think Dr. King made the point better. After the Civil War, things were done for free farmers, including immigrant farmers, in the north, that were blocked or thwarted for blacks in the south.
I think 5fish had a clip of Dr. King speaking on this subject, which clip was recorded shortly before MLK was murdered.
 

wausaubob

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Location
Denver, CO
Prof. Ransom made an attempt to explain why cotton remained so dominant in the south, well after the price had decreased and then collapsed. It seems some market allocation decisions were made for political reasons, to maintain customary social arrangements, rather than based on price factors. But that is not obvious, only an inference.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
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Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
https://krex.k-state.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/2097/14956/RickyDaleCalhoun2012.pdf?sequence=1 See page 440. The production of cotton in Texas soared after the end of the Civil War. As occurred elsewhere in the south, as railroad mileage increased in Texas, transportation costs fell and more land was brought into production.
Texas has to be treated separately from the rest of the south, as the example shows slavery was not essential to profitable cotton production.
 
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