Front cover image for Empire of cotton : a global history

Empire of cotton : a global history

Sven Beckert (Author)
"The epic story of the rise and fall of the empire of cotton, its centrality in the world economy, and its making and remaking of global capitalism. Sven Beckert's rich, fascinating book tells the story of how, in a remarkably brief period, European entrepreneurs and powerful statesmen recast the world's most significant manufacturing industry combining imperial expansion and slave labor with new machines and wage workers to change the world. Here is the story of how, beginning well before the advent of machine production in 1780, these men created a potent innovation (Beckert calls it war capitalism, capitalism based on unrestrained actions of private individuals; the domination of masters over slaves, of colonial capitalists over indigenous inhabitants), and crucially affected the disparate realms of cotton that had existed for millennia. We see how this thing called war capitalism shaped the rise of cotton, and then was used as a lever to transform the world. The empire of cotton was, from the beginning, a fulcrum of constant global struggle between slaves and planters, merchants and statesmen, farmers and merchants, workers and factory owners. In this as in so many other ways, Beckert makes clear how these forces ushered in the modern world. The result is a book as unsettling and disturbing as it is enlightening: a book that brilliantly weaves together the story of cotton with how the present global world came to exist"--Provided by publisher
Print Book, English, 2015
First Vintage Books edition View all formats and editions
Vintage Books, New York, 2015
xxii, 615 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm
9780375713965, 0375713964
The rise of a global commodity
Building war capitalism
The wages of war capitalism
Capturing labor, conquering land
Slavery takes command
Industrial capitalism takes wing
Mobilizing industrial labor
Making cotton global
A war reverberates around the world
Global reconstruction
The new cotton imperialism
The return of the global South
The weave and the weft : an epilogue