Earth into Property

Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization, and Capitalism

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 934
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Earth into Property
    Book Description:

    Earth into Property: The Bowl with One Spoon, Part Two explores the relationship between the dispossession of Indigenous peoples and the making of global capitalism. Beginning with Christopher Columbus's inception of a New World Order in 1492, Anthony Hall draws on a massive body of original research to produce a narrative that is audacious, encyclopedic, and transformative in the new light it sheds on the complex historical processes that converged in the financial debacle of 2008 and 2009.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-9088-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-1)
  3. INTRODUCTION: Memory and History in the Contest between Empire and Liberty
    (pp. 3-34)

    It is 1971. I have just turned twenty. The soles of my weathered Canadian boots are being hit from below by splashes of flying red mud. Then the road’s texture changes from oozing muck to industrial-grade gravel as I chug along on my single-cylinder, British-made motorcycle – a bsa 250.

    Since I left Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, I have maintained a steady westward trajectory pointed at the Rwenzori Mountains. The melting snows flowing from the Rwenzoris feed the Great Lakes of equatorial Africa. Some of the runoff from the mountains descends northward to the Mediterranean through the Nile River. The peaks...

    • CHAPTER ONE Looking Backwards and Forwards from the World’s Columbian Exposition
      (pp. 37-58)

      At the beginning of every story are mergers of memory and imagination that give life to Aboriginal history. The essence of Aboriginal history lies in the quest to describe those founding acts that infuse meaning and substance into new institutions, countries, cultures, religions, methodologies, motifs of encounter, and the like. This emphasis on starting points, inceptions, initiating enterprises, new departures, and rituals of birth offers analytic keys to fuller understanding of the dynamic relationship between the universal and the particular, the absolute and the relative, individual people and the groups to which we adhere. The study of Aboriginal history offers...

    • CHAPTER TWO Imperialism and Its Enemies: From the Crusades to Enron
      (pp. 59-110)

      The promoters of the international expositions in the second half of the nineteenth century hoped, as one of their goals, to present a macroscopic vision of the entire planet in a single show. This ideal seems to have been advanced in especially compelling ways at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Its commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s voyage served as a reminder that, before 1492, there was no widely accessible understanding of the world as an orb that could be circumnavigated; no accurate, widely available picture of the shape and character of the one receptacle that...

    • CHAPTER THREE Colonizing Time, Remaking Space, Shaping Opinions, Privatizing the Commons
      (pp. 111-164)

      The 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s initial transatlantic voyage implicitly emphasized the colonization of time as well as space. Indeed, the colonization of time was an integral, if more subtle, factor in the genre of globalization and imperial expansion that began with Europe’s colonization of the Western Hemisphere after 1492. Among the many markers and facilitators of the imperial powers’ growing capacity to colonize both time and space were increasingly sophisticated systems of navigation, map making, and surveying. Like the ability to calibrate and measure the passage of time, improvements in these means of representing and organizing geographical space were...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Visions of Self-Determination in Eras of Imperial Rule, Apartheid, the Cold War, the War on Terror, and Late Consumer Capitalism
      (pp. 165-216)

      The single most powerful force to emerge from world history since 1492 is the complex of legal, commercial, psychological, and political relationships that goes by the name of capitalism. The ongoing globalization of an increasingly homogenous system of capitalist interaction continues to extend the boundaries of private property towards new frontiers of matter, mind, and relationship. The expansion of capitalist transactions into ever more facets of life has been so steady and unrelenting that the process is made to seem normal, even inevitable. It is made to seem like a realization of natural law. Changes in stock-market indexes, currency values,...

    • CHAPTER FIVE Hitler or Roosevelt? Finding Third Ways to the Fourth World
      (pp. 217-264)

      During the twentieth century, the criticism and defence of capitalism animated domestic politics, international affairs, and world public opinion on a scale that transcended all other issues. In the course of the struggle to determine capitalism’s place in humanity’s future, the United States moved towards the centre of global geopolitics. The transformation of a single country into the pre-eminent symbol and living laboratory of capitalism flowed naturally from US history. It emerged in stages from the transformation of Western civilization’s most piercing projectile of transatlantic expansion into the worldwide command structure governing the superpower’s military-industrial complex. In claiming and remaking...

    • CHAPTER SIX Encounters with Indigenous Peoples in the Making of Two Transcontinental Polities in North America
      (pp. 267-314)

      The world’s pre-eminent military-industrial complex acquired much of its character during the Second World War. The clash between two different types of capitalism embodied by Hitler and Roosevelt initiated the rise of a permanent wartime economy in the United States that continues to this day. The national security state can be conceived as the directing mechanism of the military-industrial complex. The national security state began to take form after 1917 when the US government entered the First World War just as the Czarist Russia was violently reconstituted as the founding and core polity of the Soviet Union. The US government’s...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Pushing Westward
      (pp. 315-349)

      Imagine a filmic dissolve from the 475 forts built over the course of the superpower’s transcontinental expansion to the 725 acknowledged US military bases in 130 countries around the world. This blending of images goes a long way to suggest the nature of the links of Aboriginal history connecting the US conquest of Indian Country to the US government’s more recent quest in the international arena for Full Spectrum Dominance and Total Information Awareness. In The Sorrows of Empire, Chalmers A. Johnson points to this global network of US military bases, together with the golf courses and soldiers’ pleasure palaces...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Manipulating Law and Lawlessness in the Conquests of Anglo-America
      (pp. 350-395)

      The civil war that had erupted in British North America in 1776 ended with the Treaty of Ghent in 1814. The agreement terminating the War of 1812 was followed by the dramatic conclusion of the Napoleonic wars in the British victory over France at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. These developments in the transatlantic world helped to clear the way for the accelerated rise of Anglo-America. John Jacob Astor stepped into the centre of one of the most important emerging fields of business between Great Britain and the United States in 1816 when he exported 10 tons of opium...

    • CHAPTER NINE Landscapes of Memory, Territories of Power
      (pp. 396-431)

      In The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel P. Huntington pictures the United States as the primary bastion, agent, champion, and defender of Western civilization. The attributes that helped make the United States the West’s most influential polity have often been expressed through the reach of its compelling popular culture, its dazzling technological innovations, and its sometimes bold and adept diplomacy.¹ As Huntington reminds us, however, the rise of the so-called West, like the rise of the United States, has depended more on military force than on intellectual persuasion. “The West,” he writes, “won the world...

    • CHAPTER TEN Media of Power in the Construction (and Deconstruction) of America
      (pp. 432-477)

      Social philosophers have showered much attention on identifying the connections linking the development of our personal senses of selfhood and our perceptions of those we relegate to the category of otherness. This line of inquiry has figured, for instance, in the work of Friedrich Hegel, Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault, Louis Althusser, Jacques Derrida, and Noam Chomsky. These and many other observers have helped to describe how our internal pictures of ourselves as individuals and as members of clans, nations, religious communities, and so on stem in large part from how we think about those whom we consider alien to our...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN War and Peace
      (pp. 478-524)

      The two world wars of the twentieth century illustrated, extended, and energized networks of cooperation and antagonism that bound an increasingly interconnected world. The fighting of both the wars and the planning, negotiation, and implementation of the post-war peace settlements stimulated levels of interaction among individuals, peoples, governments, corporations, and many other types of organization on an unprecedented scale. Many new frontiers of globalization were reached and transcended in the reconfiguration of empires, nations, communities, alliances, animosities, economies, and cultures.

      In the Second World War especially the contest came down in large measure to a race to master the marriage...

    • CHAPTER TWELVE Indigenous Peoples in the Law and Practice of Nations
      (pp. 527-587)

      While the modern era of globalization began in 1492, the pace and intensity of imperial expansion entered a new phase during the second half of the nineteenth century when the language of Social Darwinism began to replace the mystique of Christian evangelism as the primary public justification for colonial expansion.¹ The chief literary marker of this epistemological transformation in the public mythology of imperial expansion came in 1859 with the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. In this pivotal text Darwin...

    • CHAPTER THIRTEEN Colonialism Incorporated: International Finance, Treaties, Crimes, and the Law during the Age of Impunity
      (pp. 588-654)

      During the last four centuries, for-profit corporations have given concerted expression to some of the West’s most deep impulses to dominate all nature, including human nature. From the business navigations of the East India companies to those of Google, for-profit corporations have long resided at the core of the most basic processes where technological, financial, legal, political, and psychological manipulations converge in the transformation of matter, invention, and organized work into privately owned objects, spaces, and ideas. So widespread and pervasive did this pattern of corporate commercial enterprise become that, by the mid-1950s, it was embedded as much in the...

    • CHAPTER FOURTEEN Genocide and Global Capitalism
      (pp. 655-711)

      At what point does the proliferation of mass murder grow to become the basis of an international crime – a crime against all humanity? Why is it that the murder of individuals often generates more serious attention from police and prosecutors than the crime of eliminating whole national, ethnic, racial, social, or religious communities? Why do the culprits responsible for assaults on targeted groups so rarely face legal accountability for their orders and actions? These queries were among the basic questions underlying the research, publication, and political interventions of Raphael Lemkin, a jurist known for his stubborn attachment to precise...

    • CHAPTER FIFTEEN From General Motors to AIG to the Bowl with One Spoon: Reading the Financial Crisis
      (pp. 712-756)

      The worldwide spread in 2008 of a financial contagion that began in the United States set in motion major cycles of transformation that altered forever the underlying constitution of the global economy. The core players in the financial system may continue to describe themselves as capitalists, but the speed, scope, and long-term implications of enormous government bailouts to integrated networks of banks, investment brokers, and insurance firms have highlighted the lie that global finance functions in a milieu of free and open markets. At the highest level, economic interactions are ruled by politics, patronage, and cronyism rather than by the...

  7. EPILOGUE: From Imperial Absolutism to Reasonable Relativism, 1893–1992
    (pp. 757-764)

    The commemorative events announcing the 500th anniversary of 1492 conveyed very different messages from those heralding the passing of the first four centuries since Christopher Columbus first planted the Christian cross of his Spanish sponsors on an island in the Bahamas. By mounting the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the United States cast itself as the principal embodiment and guardian of Christopher Columbus’s legacy. In this interpretive project, the memory of the Italian explorer’s most transformative voyage was conflated with the imagery of the emerging urban centre of Chicago, the busy frontier metropolis on the political, commercial, and...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 765-884)
  9. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 885-890)
  10. Index
    (pp. 891-934)