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Lecture 2

Week 2 Lecture 2 GEOG 2200 2013 Notes.docx

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GEOG 2200
John Milton

Page1GEOG 2200 Global ConnectionsJohn Milton Instructor SeptemberDecember 2013Week 2Lecture 2 The Making of the Modern World A Brief History of CapitalismWith the death of feudal society and its traditional relations between classes of people combined with the creation of Europeancentred world empires the stage was set for the creation of a single world economy organized around capitalism But what is capitalismCapitalism is much more than simply an economic idea It defined a new type of society It created and embraced new sets of relations and practices new institutions and ways the world was understood These are called regimes of accumulations in formal studies A regime of accumulation describes a particular way of organizing economic production income distribution consumption and public goods and services It is used in Regulation Theory Capitalism therefore led to and reflected several keys areas of change notably changes in class structure changes in financial arrangements and practices business practices the emergence of the nationstate territorial and geographic changes longdistance trade and new ideologiesChanges in class structureCapitalist societies created social classes of different kinds than existed under feudalism which reflected a broad shift from hierarchy based on tradition to one based on money from status born of rank to status earned The ascendency of the merchant class or the bourgeoisie became viewed by the aristocracy of Europe as a threat to the existing orderand rightly so As the merchant grew in numbers and wealth it also acquired power challenging the aristocracy and monarchy on a wide range of issues including issues of taxation the freedom to open markets and other financial issuesAt the same time over several centuries the peasants and serfs of feudalism gradually coalesced into the working classChanges in financial arrangementsAs noted last class changes in business practices particularly routinization helped propel capitalism Prior to capitalism most trade was done through bartering but the growth of capitalism led to a fundamental change in the role of money which increasingly became the measure of worth for products goods and labourEmergence of the nationstateCapitalism is not simply an economic system for organizing the production and consumption of resources through marketsit is also a political system that involves a NEW type of state The emergence of capitalism and the rise of marketbased economies and societies coincided with a series of political changes One might argue that the birth and maturation of the nationstate as it exists today was in part driven by the rise of capitalismTerritorial and geographic changesJust as capitalism changed the rules of society it also reshaped how these rules and therefore people were organized geographically both within Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world Page2Capitalism produced new landscapes reflecting uneven development Not all regions were equal As a result one witnessed the simultaneous existence and interaction of rich and poor places those with high and low unemployment and regions and countries that were prosperous sometimes adjacent to regions and countries that were impoverished Furthermore these regions were unstable as new advances were constantly changing the rules of the gameLongdistance tradeIf longdistance trade was peripheral to feudalismthose societies functioned with limited goodsit is central to capitalism In marketbased societies trade occurs in all sorts of goods from luxuries to those for everyday use Trade both reflected differences between places in the natureand possibilitiesof production it also came to help shape those placesNew ideologiesMarketbased systems reflected the ways in which people were organized and interrelatedbut capitalism also changed the way in which people perceived the world The emergence of capitalism brought with it a vast outburst of ideological changes that revolutionized the ideas science and culture of western Europe civilization It was period of revolution The invention of the printing press in 1450 was a pivotal moment enabling advances in literacy and the sharing of ththknowledge During the 16 and 17 centuries Europe witnessed an explosion of artistic and scientific knowledge known as the RenaissanceThere was also the Protestant Reformation And the Copernican Revolution And finally there came the Enlightenment the provided the foundation of the modern worldJeffery Sachs 199992 wrote that these emerging new capitalist societies were distinguished by four featuresOn economic grounds they were the first societies in history in which economic activities were predominantly organized via market exchange based on private property relations in labour capital land and ideas On political grounds these societies were based on notions of citizenship and the rule of law at least in comparison with most other societies where an individuals legal standing depended on birthright and where sovereign power was exercised without juridical constraint On social grounds these societies had substantially abandoned formal structures of hierarchy based on birthright such as the distinctions of nobility and serfdom of prenineteenth century continental Europe or analogs of caste and orders found in most other societies Finally in the sphere of ideas and belief systems western European societies were increasingly secularized and grounded in a modern scientific outlook Sachs 199992The Geography of the Emerging Capitalist WorldFirst there were the CityStates of Italy and the Hanseatic League But with the Industrial Revolution capitalist society became firmly rooted in Europe and its settlement colonies most notably of the Americas The Many Types of CapitalismCapitalism per se is not unique to Europe Nor is it static in its nature or form it is a dynamic force and has been since its inception From merchant capitalism to industrial capitalism
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