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How the West Came to Rule: The Geopolitical Origins of Capitalism

Over the course of the past 300 years, how does leadership compare from ‘East’ to ‘West’ in terms of both economic and military power on a global scale? What sort of processes did the West witness to transform into the capitalist center that has led Western Europe to ascend to a position of global dominance at the expense of the East?

Over the course of the past 300 years, how does leadership compare from ‘East’ to ‘West’ in terms of both economic and military power on a global scale? What sort of processes did the West witness to transform into the capitalist center that has led Western Europe to ascend to a position of global dominance at the expense of the East? And why has capitalism successfully predominated over and displaced other modes of production in the West? Shortly, how did the ‘West’ come to ‘rule’ under the wings of capitalism?” As can be understood from its title, these are the main questions that Alexander Anievas and Kereme Nişançıoğlu strive to answer in their book.

 

The authors undertake this project, despite the fact that they accept that these questions have been asked by many earlier scholars, and that there are many other studies, academic and otherwise, that have tried to explore this subject. However, they argue that earlier writers, whether intentionally or unintentionally, could not prevent themselves from falling into the trap of Eurocentrism which understands the emergence of capitalism as a ‘sui generis’ development unique to Europe. In other words, in the Eurocentric views, European development and modernity under the capitalist system is conceptualized as endogenous to the West and self-propelling. In accepting this as given, these studies set up an epistemological distinction between West and East that overlooks the multiple and interactive character of social development, including capitalism. The Eurocentric point of view has also misled some writers to see the European experience of modernity as a universal stage of development through which all societies must pass. In short, such studies conceptualize the East as an object in the making of capital

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Call for Paper | Politics of the Balkans and Future Perspectives