The Use and Misuse of Uneven and Combined Development: A Critique of Anievas and Nişancıoğlu

In: Historical Materialism
Author: Charles Post1
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  • 1 Department of Social Science, Borough of Manhattan Community College-CUNY
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Aneivas and Nişancıoğlu’s provocative book, How the West Came to Rule, attempts to provide an alternative account of the origins of capitalism to both ‘Political Marxism’ and ‘World-Systems Theory’. By making uneven and combined development a universal dynamic of human history and by utilising a flawed concept of ‘Eurocentrism’, however, they introduce a high degree of causal pluralism into their analysis. Despite important insights into the specific dynamics of different pre-capitalist forms of social labour, their account of the origins of capitalism in How the West Came to Rule suffers from causal indeterminacy and historical inaccuracies.

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