Sugar, Slavery, and Creative Destruction: World-Magnates and “Coreification” in the Longue-Durée
Recent literature in the world-systems perspective has refocused attention on questions of ‘core’ and ‘periphery’ in historical capitalism, yet rarely critically examines the underlying assumptions regarding these zones. Drawing on a developing dataset on the world’s wealthiest individuals (the World-Magnates Database), we trace the development and expansion of sugar circuits across the Atlantic world from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries to explain how the sugar commodity chain leads us to rethink some prevailing notions of core and periphery. Namely, we challenge the notion that these zones consist of geographical spaces that, since very early in the development of the world-economy, became permanently specialized in the production of raw materials (periphery) or more sophisticated manufactures (core); and that labor forces have been trans-historically relatively free/better-paid in core activities and coerced/poorly-paid in peripheral ones. We argue that, prior to the nineteenth century, the world-economy is not only characterized by the uneven and combined emergence of various forms of labor exploitation, as usually argued within a world-systems perspective, but also one in which core-like and peripheral activities (that is, those providing access to relatively greater or lesser wealth) were not yet as clearly bounded geographically as they would become in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We find that a longue-durée analysis of sugar production by enslaved labor illustrates not merely processes of peripheralization, but of what we call coreification.
Abbott, Andrew. 1991. “History and Sociology: The Lost Synthesis.” Social Science History 15: 2 (Summer):201-238.
______. 2001. Chaos of Disciplines. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson and James A. Robinson. 2002. “Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 117 (November): 1231-1294.
Albrecht, Scott and Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz. 2017. “‘Creative Destruction’ from a World-Systems Perspective: Billionaires and the Great Recession of 2008,” in M. Boatca, A. Komlosy, and H. Nolte, eds., Global Inequalities in World-Systems Perspective: Theoretical Debates and Methodological Innovations. New York: Routledge.
Antonil, André João. 1711. Cultura e Opulência Do Brasil. [text available in [http: www.bibvirt.futuro.usp.br]).
Arrighi, Giovanni. 1985. “Fascism to Democratic Socialism: Logic and Limits of a Transition.” Pp. 243-279. in Semiperipheral Development: The Politics of Southern Europe in the Twentieth Century, Giovanni
Arrighi, ed. Beverly Hills: Sage.
______. 1990. “The Developmentalist Illusion: A Reconceptualization of the Semiperiphery.” Pp. 11-42 in Semiperipheral States in the World-Economy. W.G. Martin, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwoord Press.
______. 1994. The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of our Times. London: Verso.
______. 1999. “Globalization and Historical Macrosociology.” Pp.
-133. in Sociology for the Twenty-First Century: Continuities and Cutting Edges. Janet Abu-Lughod, ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Arrighi, Giovanni, and Jessica Drangel. 1986. “Stratification of the World-Economy: An exploration of the Semiperipheral Zone.” Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 10(1): 9-74.
Babones, Salvatore J. 2005. “The Country-Level Income Structure of the World-Economy.” Journal of World-Systems Research 11(1): 9-55.
Baronov, David. 2018. “The Analytical-Holistic Divide Within World-System Analysis.” Pp. 6-16 in R.P. Korzeniewicz, ed. The World-System as Unit of Analysis: Past Contributions and Future Advances. New York: Routledge.
Batie, Carlyle. 1976. “Why Sugar? Economic Cycles and the Changing of Staples on the English and French Antilles, 1624-54” The Journal of Caribbean History 8: 1-41.
Beckles, Hilary McD. 1982. “The Economic Origins of Black Slavery in the British West Indies, 1640-1680: A Tentative Analysis of the Barbados Model.” Journal of Caribbean History 16: 36-56.
Blackburn, Robin. 1997. The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800. London: Verso.
Block, Kristen. 2010. “Cultivating Inner and Outer Plantations: Property, Industry, and Slavery in Early Quaker Migration to the New World.” Early American Studies 8: 3 (Special Forum: Markets and Morality: Intersections of Economy, Ethics and Religion in Early North America):515-548.
Braudel, Fernand. 1984. The Perspective of the World. New York: Harper and Row.
Brenner, Robert. 1977. "The Origins of Capitalist Development: A Critique of Neo-Smithian Marxism." New Left Review 104: 25-92.
Clark, Rob, and Jason Beckfield. 2009. “A New Trichotomous Measure of World-System Position Using the International Trade Network.” International Journal of Comparative Sociology 50(1):5-39.
Coatsworth, John H. 1993. “Notes on the Comparative Economic History of Latin America and the United States.” Pp. 10-30 in W.L. Bernecker and H.W. Tobler, eds. Development and Underdevelopment in America: Contrasts of Economic Growth in North and Latin America in Historical Perspective. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Craton, Michael. 1980. “The Passion to Exist: Slave Rebellions in the British West Indies, 1650-1832.” Journal of Caribbean History 13: 1-20.
______. 1982. Testing the Chains: Slave Rebellions in the British West Indies. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Dhanda, Karen S. 2001. “Labor and Place in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad: A search for a Comparative Unified Field Theory Revisited.” NWIG: New West Indian Guide/Nieuwe West-Indische Gids 75 (3/4): 229-255.
Dunn, Richard S. 2000. “The English Sugar Islands and the Founding of South Carolina.” The South Carolina Historical Magazine 101: 2 (Apr): 142-154.
______. 1969. “The Barbados Census of 1680: Profile of the Richest Colony in English America.” The William and Mary Quarterly 26: 1 (Jan): 3-30.
Eltis, David, Frank D. Lewis, and David Richardson. 2005. “Slave Prices, the African Slave Trade, and Productivity in the Caribbean, 1674-1807.” Economic History Review 58 (4):673-700.
Engerman, Stanley L. 1973. “Some Considerations Relating to Property Rights in Man.” Journal of Economic History 33:43-65.
______. 1981. “Notes on the Patterns of Economic Growth in the British North American Colonies in the Sevnteenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.” Pp. 46-57 in P. Bairoch and M. Lévy-Leboyer, eds. Disparities in Economic Development since the Industrial Revolution. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Ferlini, Vera. 2003. Terra, trabalho e poder: O mundo dos engenhos no Nordeste colonial. Bauru, São Paulo: EDUSC.
Fogel, Robert W. 1989. Without Consent or Contract. New York: W.W. Norton.
Furtado, Celso. 1963. The Economic Growth of Brazil: A Survey from Colonial to Modern Times. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Galloway, J.H. 1989. The Sugar Cane Industry: An Historical Geography From its Origins to 1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Garcia S., Daniel D. 1993. “Economic Growth and Stagnation in the Colonial Americas: An Exploratory Essay.” Pp. 51-87 in W.L.
Bernecker and H.W. Tobler, eds. Development and Underdevelopment in America: Contrasts of Economic Growth in North and Latin America in Historical Perspective. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Green, William A. 1988. “Supply Versus Demand in the Barbadian Sugar Revolution.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 18 (3): 403-418.
Greenfield, Sidney M. 1967. “The Organization of Large-Scale Agricultural Labor in Barbados and Minas Gerais, Brazil: A Comparison of Two Responses to Emancipation.” Anthropological Quarterly 40(4): 201-216.
Handler, Jerome and Diane Wallman. 2014. “Production Activities in the Household Economies of Plantation Slaves: Barbados and Martinique, Mid-1600s to Mid-1800s.” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 18(3): 441-466.
Hanson, Carl A. 1981. Economy and Society in Baroque Portugal, 1668-1703. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Harvey, David. 2001. “Globalization and the Spatial Fix,” Geographische Revue. Vol. 2.
Higman, B.W. 2000. “The Sugar Revolution.” Economic History Review 53(2): 213-236.
Hopkins, Terence. 1982a. “The Study of the Capitalist World Economy.” Pp. 9-38 in T.K. Hopkins and I. Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: Theory and Methodology. Sage, Beverly Hills.
______. 1982b. “World-Systems Analysis: Methodological Issues.” Pp- 145-158 in T.K. Hopkins and I. Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: Theory and Methodology. Sage, Beverly Hills.
Jorgenson, Andrew K. 2006. “Unequal Ecological Exchange and Environmental Degradation: A Theoretical Proposition and Cross-National Study of Deforestation, 1990-2000.” Rural Sociology 71: 685-712.
Karatasli, Sahan Savas. 2017. “The Capitalist World-Economy in the Longue durée: Changing Modes of the Global Distribution of Wealth, 1500-2008.” Sociology of Development 3(2): 163-196.
Karatasli, Sahan Savas and Sefika Kumral. 2018. “Great Convergence or the Third Great Divergence? Changes in the Global Distribution of Wealth, 1500-2008.” Pp. 36-49 in R.P. Korzeniewicz, ed. The World-System as Unit of Analysis: Past Contributions and Future Advances. New York: Routledge.
Keagy, Thomas J. 1972. “The Poor Whites of Barbados.” Revista de Historia de América 73/74 (Jan-Dec): 9-52.
Kentor, Jeffrey. 2000. Capital and Coercion: The Economic and Military Processes That Have Shaped the World Economy, 1800-1990. New York: Garland.
Klein, Herbert S. 1999. The Atlantic Slave Trade. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Koot, Christian J. 2007. “A ‘Dangerous Principle’: Free Trade Discourses in Barbados and the English Leeward Islands, 1650-1689.” Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 5(1): 132-163.
Korzeniewicz, Roberto Patricio, and Corey R. Payne. Forthcoming. “Rethinking Core and Periphery in Historical Capitalism: ‘World-Magnates’ and the Shifting Epicenters of Wealth Accumulation,” in E. Mielants, ed. Political Economy of the World-System Annuals. Routledge.
Lane, Frederic C. 1979. Profits From Power: Readings in Protection Rent and Violence-Controlling Enterprises. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Lang, James. 1979. Portuguese Brazil: The King’s Plantation. New York: Academic Press.
Mahutga, Matthew C. 2006. “The Persistence of Structural Inequality? A Network Analysis of International Trade, 1965-2000.” Social Forces 84(4): 1863-89.
Marx, Karl. 1867. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume 1. New York: Penguin Classics.
McCusker, John J. and Russell R. Menard. 2004. “The Sugar Industry in the Seventeenth Century: A New Perspective on the Barbadian ‘Sugar Revolution.’” Pp. 289-330 in S.B. Schwartz, ed. Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450-1680. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
McMichael, Phillip. 1990. “Incorporating Comparison within a World-Historical Perspective: An Alternative Comparative Method.” American Sociological Review 55: 385-397.
Menard, Russell R. 2006. Sweet Negotiations: Sugar, Slavery, and Plantation Agriculture in Early Barbados. Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press.
Mintz, Sidney W. 1985. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Viking Penguin Press.
Moore, Jason. 2000. “Sugar and the Expansion of the Early Modern World-Economy: Commodity Frontiers, Ecological Transformation, and Industrialization.” Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 23(3): 409-433.
______. 2003. “Nature and the Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism.” Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 26(2): 97-172.
______. 2009. “Madeira, Sugar, and the Conquest of Nature in the ‘First’ Sixteenth Century: Part I: From ‘Island of Timber’ to Sugar Revolution, 1420–1506.” Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 32(4): 345-390.
______. 2010. “Madeira, Sugar, and the Conquest of Nature in the ‘First’ Sixteenth Century: Part I: From Regional Crisis to Commodity Frontier, 1506—1530.” Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 33(1): 1-24.
Olson, Mancur. 1982. The Rise and Decline of Nations: Economic Growth, Stagflation, and Social Rigidities. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Pasciuti, Daniel S. and Corey R. Payne. 2018. “Illusion in Crisis? World-Economic and Zonal Volatility, 1975-2013.” Pp. 50-64 in R. P. Korzeniewicz, ed. The World-System as Unit of Analysis: Past Contributions and Future Advances, New York: Routledge.
Pettigrew, William Andrew. 2013. Freedom’s Debt: The Royal African Company and the Politics of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1672-1752. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
Polanyi, Karl. 1957 . The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time. Boston: Beacon Press.
Pomeranz, Kenneth. 2001. The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the World Economy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Posthumus, N.W. 1946. Inquiry into the History of Prices in Holland. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
Prado, Caio, Jr. 1967. The Colonial Background of Modern Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Roberts, Justin. 2016. “Surrendering Surinam: The Barbadian Diaspora and the Expansion of the English Sugar Frontier, 1650–75.” The William and Mary Quarterly 73(2): 225-256.
Rodney, Walter. 1972. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. London: Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications.
Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1942. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. New York: Harper and Row.
Schwartz, Stuart B. 1985. Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia, 1550-1835. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Schwartz, Stuart B. 2004a. “Introduction.” Pp. 1-26 in S.B. Schwartz, ed. Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450-1680. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
Schwartz, Stuart B. 2004b. “A Commonwealth Within Itself: The Early Brazilian Sugar Industry, 1550-1670.” Pp. 158-200 in S.B. Schwartz, ed. Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450-1680. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
Silver, Beverly. 2003. Forces of Labor: Workers' Movements and Globalization since 1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, Adam. 1976 . The Wealth of Nations. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Sokoloff, Kenneth L., and Stanley L. Engerman. 2000. “Institutions, Factor Endowments, and Paths of Development in the New World.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 14(3): 217-232.
Stols, Eddy. 2004. “The Expansion of the Sugar Market in Western Europe.” Pp. 237-288 in S.B. Schwartz, ed. Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450-1680. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
Taylor, Kit Sims. 1978. Sugar and the Underdevelopment of Northeastern Brazil, 1500-1970. Gainesville: The University Presses of Florida.
Tomich, Dale. 1990. Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar: Martinique and the World Economy, 1830-1848. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Tryon, Thomas. 1684. Friendly Advice to the Gentlemen-Planters of the East and West Indies. London: Andrew Sowle.
Vieira, Alberto. 2004. “Sugar Islands: The Sugar Economy of Madeira and the Canaries, 1450-1650.” Pp. 42-84 in S.B. Schwartz, ed. Tropical Babylons: Sugar and the Making of the Atlantic World, 1450-1680. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1974. The Modern World System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press.
______. 1979. The Capitalist World-Economy. New York: Cambridge
Ward, J.R. 1978. “The Profitability of Sugar Planting in the British West Indies: 1650-1834.” Economic History Review, 2nd series, 31:197-213.
Copyright (c) 2019 Roberto Patricio Korzeniewicz, Corey R Payne
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.