Unequal Development: An Essay on the Social Formations of by Samir Amin

By Samir Amin

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Extra resources for Unequal Development: An Essay on the Social Formations of Peripheral Capitalism

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Fifthly, these two well·developed models of the tribute-paying formation were able to digest the progress achieved by the productive forces. The production relations defined by the tribute-paying mode were compatible with a wide rang� of levels of development of the produc· tive forces. The conflict between productive forces and production relations makes its appearance only when the capitalist mode has been introduced from outside. The histor�cal duration of the fully developed tribute-paying mode was thus, in principle, very long.

The Barbarians, established first of all where natu­ ral conditions were favorable. thus ended by making their way (via the slaveowning mode) in�o new regions. The feudal variant remained weak in comparison original, fully developed tribute-paying mode. with the This weakness, this peripheral character was to become its strength. At the begin­ ning of the feudal order in Europe, it meant a surplus of modest size but also an absence of political, administrative, and economic centralization, the one going along with the other.

This happened more than once in the course of history, and on each occasion the men of the desert endeavored to survive by becoming conquerors. The first part of the "civilized world" to be conquered by the Arabs was the Fertile Crescent - the lands of Syria and Iraq, along the northern edge of the Arabian Desert. There the Arabs were in familiar territory, for the societies of the Ancient East had been very largely commercial communities of the same type as their own. There were, to be sure. some peasants in this semiarid zone, whereas there were hardly any to the south of it.

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