CAP1.1Backcover

It was the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw who perhaps said it best: “The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.” In this idyllic image of a nineteenth-century plantation (Cardiff Hall from James Hakewill, Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica, 1825), we see the verdant outlines of a bucolic dream, where pleasure and profi t appeared to walk placidly, hand in hand. Nowhere, the sight of bondage. Nowhere, the perturbing human face on what was deemed mere “property.” Nowhere, the horrors of the middle passage. As it is with the sources of revenue, so it is with a wider variety of epistemological gardens that we cultivate simply for the purpose of shielding our eyes from that which disturbs us. This fi rst issue of Capitalism seeks to illuminate how ways of seeing or not seeing have been integral to the historical (and ongoing) distribution of power, plenty, and poverty. - Carolyn N. Biltoft