Posts Tagged ‘fernand braudel’

Braudel’s Provocation

Donnerstag, Februar 16th, 2012

[Fernand] Braudel provides us with a lovely bit of unconventional wisdom: capitalism is inherently anti-market. Any sensible capitalist avoids a proper functioning market because that is not where the biggest profits are to be made. Put the other way round, markets are bad for capital accumulation because they do not allow enough of it. If capitalism does not equal market what does it equate with? For Braudel the answer is simple: monopolies, that is where the big profits are to be made. […]

I have called this argument Braudel’s provocation and by now you will have seen why: instead of monopoly being ‚a spreading rot in the fabric of competitive capitalism‘ (Shepherd 1970, 14) as is commonly supposed, it is itself capitalism. Rather than monopoly indicating an imperfect market, the market is a sign of failed monopoly. […] In fact once we begin to focus on monopolies, not as special exceptions to the market, but as the normal operation of capitalism then much old and new work in geography and the social sciences in general take on a new perspective.

From P.J. Taylor’s 1999 Annual Political Geography Lecture