Self, Culture and Society
November 20 , 2013
“on the other side of the Atlantic, the organization and orientations of large African populations were
transformed in major ways by the trade in slaves. Since the European slavers only moved the slaves from the
African coast to their destination in the Americas, the supply side of the trade was entirely in African hands.
This was the ‘African foundation’ upon which was built.. “The magnificent superstructure of America
commerce and naval power” (Wolf, p.4)
▯he’s not saying whether it was a good thing or a bad thing, he’s stating that things are the way they are.
▯Another way of looking at this book is by giving it another title.
▯The truth of history that Wolf presents to us, all these ideas of American ingenuity and the hard work and
effort, that myth of American prosperity conceal this reality.
“The task of writing a realistic account of African populations is not to justify one group as against another, but
to uncover the forces that brought Europeans and Africans (and others) into connection with one another in the
construction of the world. The human costs of the slave trade remain incalculable; but the economic and
political causes and consequences for all participants are ascertainable” (Wolf, p. 230)
▯There is this moral dimension, the human cost. The human cost is not just some unfortunate side affect that
could have been avoided.
▯The social scientific side is the study, to study the slave trade.
• Commodities has two dimensions:
▯ Use Value:
• In volume 1 of Capital, Marx basically says that “ we just assumed a whole bunch of things (Three
• Two kinds