Fragments: Pre-capitalist Economy

precapitalist economy is not a well-defined term. It refers to that period that preceded capitalism, but it does not describe any particular form of economy. . . . Precapitalism . . . is associated with numerous forms and practices that coexisted with and that were subsequently more or less taken over by capitalism. Whereas one of the features of modern industrial capitalism was its tendency to encroach on other modes and to make them disappear or disintegrate, precapitalist formations did not have this feature. . . . In many parts of the world in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, different economic modes coexisted, and there were different forms of capitalist practices. . . . [thus] prior to incorporation [into modern industrial capitalism], regions such as Egypt that eventually became part of the capitalist world system had rich and complex economic histories and societies. Incorporation did not take place in a vacuum”—Nelly Hanna, Artisan Entrepreneurs: In Cairo and Early-modern Capitalism (1600–1800), p. 8.

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