|Gunder Frank Contributions to Public Discussions
--------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 08:21:26 -0800
From: Patricia ONeill
Reply-To: H-NET List for World History
Subject: Frank to Landon on Frank on Landon on periodization
From: Andre Gunder Frank
University of Nebraska Lincoln
1. I wrote a long reply, but [luckily for all but me?] my machine lost it. So here only a
brief[er] summary re-write
2. I still probably owe a reply to those who collegially chimed in on civilization , ideas
and all that; but in the meantime, I have been moved to respond to more recent postings -
eg this one by Landon - and most of the time I am moved, but not nicely, by this war and
the several dozen items a day that pop up on my screen and that I deal with in one way or
another, including forwarding many to many. That seems more important and urgent than our
discussions, even if I regretably am [ir]responsible for having initiated some.
3. Colleague Landon never did answer the question of whether he is referring to parts here
and parts there of the world or of all the world or at least of Afro-Eurasia as a WHOLE.
which is it? In the absence of an answer - or is it just that i did not get it? - my
summary only reply to colleague Landon below:
-disagreement of fact: Frank * Gills did deal with Axial Age and a lot more in
''Cycles...1700BC to AD 1700'' reprinted as chpt 5 in their WORLD SYSTEM 500 OR 500 YEAR
book. Frank alone also extended, and made more intensive, thes ecycles back to 3,000 BC
and intends to pursue them farher back. Bill Thompson is already doing that in his own
way, eg in ISA 2001 paper. The cycles are derived from the data and appear as 2-300 years
up and 2-3000 year down phases of growth in population, production, trade, imperial
expansion etc. and decline of the same in down phase, which also fragments empires, etc.
the up/down phase simultenaity [and therefore at least [prima facie extent of the world
system] extends through all of Afro-Eurasia [except that China enters only about 600 BC-at
least visible so]. the arricle was published in CURRENT ANTHROPLOGY Aug-Oct 1993. the
cycles and phases have since been tested by three different sets of other researchers.
- interpretation. Far from being outmoded etc, historical materialism is or should be
alive and kicking, much more so that in what Marx did, who was a HM when it suited him and
a ''class struggle is motor of history'' when it did not. the eviden ce - interpretation
thereof? - is that economic structure and dynamic [not to be confused with your and my
economic ''motivation'' or not] IS the motor force of /in world history.
-- and that was the case also , especially visibly?, in the Axial Age. No doubt that as
Japers and also Teggart observed that all these ''inventors'' of major
religions/phylosophies all lived at the same time around 550 BC, and that that probably
was NOT accidental [nor that it was when that the evidence shows China being linked into
the rest of the Afro-Eurasian hist process]. Why so?
---Frank & Gills interpretation, contrary to Landon's not only de facto but de
jure/theory: 1200-1000 a major down phase, the Bronze Age crisis. [that is when Moses
exodus, ten commandments, etc. AS A RESULT of that crisis!-- not just for
relgious/ideological reasons!!] 1000-800 a major up phase
750- 500 [+/-?] a renewed down phase. that one gives rise to the books of Ezikiel [nothing
but conflict and strife] and the Lamentations [thereof!], and in the 6th cent BC the
religuous/philosophical manifestations thereof in Confuscious, Buddha etc, AS A REFLECTION
OF HARD down phase TIMES.
So there IS room for a reading of the Axial Age evidence OTHER than the ideas in command
one of Landon.
ANDRE GUNDER FRANK
Senior Fellow Residence World History Center
One Longfellow Place
270 Holmes Hall Boston, MA 02114 USA Boston, MA 02115 USA
Tel: 617-948 2315
Tel: 617 - 373 4060
Fax: 617-948 2316