Jason Moore - "This lofty mountain of silver could conquer the whole world": Potosí and the political ecology of underdevelopment, 1545-1800

jpe:10605 - Journal of Philosophical Economics, November 20, 2010, Volume IV Issue 1 - https://doi.org/10.46298/jpe.10605
"This lofty mountain of silver could conquer the whole world": Potosí and the political ecology of underdevelopment, 1545-1800Article

Authors: Jason Moore 1

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.


Volume: Volume IV Issue 1
Section: Articles
Published on: November 20, 2010
Imported on: December 28, 2022
Keywords: world-systems analysis,environmental history,political ecology,capitalism as world-ecology,political economy,[SHS]Humanities and Social Sciences

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