Eis um bom texto do Renato Drummond. Reproduzo na íntegra, sem os links.
Numa entrevista com Amartya Sen, o indiano afirma: ” We are beginning to have a world community, and economic contact has partly contributed to that. It’s also the case that economic opportunity opened up by economic contact has helped to a great extent to reduce poverty in many parts of the world. East Asia’s success is in that direction. Going further back, the escape from poverty in Western Europe and Europe generally and North America is also connected with the use of economic opportunity that international trade helped.”
O entrevistador, talvez surpreso com o fato do economista “humanista” tomar uma posição que normalmente é identificada como “conservadora”, faz seu ponto: But the American experience was built on genocide and expropriation of an entire continent, and Europe’s wealth was directly connected to its colonial empires.
A resposta de Amartya Sen é fantástica:
“I think one has to separate out the different factors in it. It is certainly correct to say that America was very lucky to get a large amount of land, and the native Indians were extremely unlucky to have white men coming over here. But to say that the whole of the American prosperity was based on exploiting the indigenous population of America would be a mistake. To a great extent it was based on productivity of modern industries which Karl Marx in particular saw very clearly. When Karl Marx discusses in Kapital volume 1 what is “the one great event of the contemporary world,” he separates out the American Civil War. What is the Civil War about? Replacing a non-trade-based relationship, namely slavery, by a wage-based relationship, which in other contexts Marx described as wage slavery. But nevertheless, in this context it is the one great thing happening in theworld. He doesn’t talk about 1848 and the Paris Commune as “the one great event.” Marx as a realist saw that industrial capitalism was producing a level of wealth that was never achievable earlier and which could be the basis of a prosperous society. In this respect, Marx was a great follower of Adam Smith and David Ricardo in seeing that a market economy had enormous opportunity of expanding wealth across the nation and making people escape poverty. You needed to go “beyond it,” but you needed it first. Similarly, there might have been genocide, but the history of the world is full of mixed stories. To say that it was the genocide that made Europe or America rich is a mistake. (ênfase minha).
In Europe it was the direct expropriation from the colonies. Bengal itself was stripped of its wealth, pauperized. Bengal got a very raw deal. Its development was put back. There’s no question that Bengal suffered enormously from colonialism. But to say that Europe would not have had any industrial revolution but for the colonies is a mistake. I don’t think that’s the analysis you get. Ultimately, imperialism made even the British working classes suffer. This is a point which the British working classes found quite difficult to swallow, but they did, actually. The labor movement did emphasize that ultimately it’s not that poverty is removed in Britain by exploiting the colonies. To say that the whole of the industrial experience of Europe and America just shows the rewards of exploiting the Third World is a gross simplification. Look at some other country, like Japan. It became an imperialist country in many ways, but that was much after they had already made big progress. I don’t think Japan’s wealth was based on exploiting China. Japan’s wealth was based on their expansion in international trade. One has to be realistic. One’s concern for equity and justice in the world must not carry one into the alien territory of unreasoned belief.(ênfase minha) That’s very important.”
A entrevista inteira pode ser lida aqui.