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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2020

5 - Entangled Indo-European Agencies

from Part I - Multicultural Origins of the First (Historical Capitalist) Global Economy, 1500–1850

Summary

Chapter 5 considers Indo-European relations in the first global economy (FGE). It argues that Indians and Asians likely transported and sold far more Indian cotton textiles (ICTs) throughout the Indian Ocean system than did the Europeans, thereby undermining the Eurocentric assumption that it was only the Europeans who breathed life into the Indian Ocean trading system through their hyper-agency. It also reveals the manifold ways in which the Asians were able to circumvent European attempts at monopolising Asian trade, all of which was connected to the specific properties of the FGE. It highlights the ways in which it was the Europeans who were, under the influence of Indian structural power, in effect ‘incorporated’ into the ‘historical capitalist’ FGE and the Indian Ocean system, thereby inverting the standard Eurofetishist belief that it was the Europeans who incorporated the Asians into the European-led capitalist world-economy. Rather than suffering European domination, the Europeans learned very quickly that they had to form ‘partnership relations’ with the Indians simply to maintain their trading presence in the Indian Ocean system, though until the eighteenth century they were very much the junior partner.

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