Six essays published between 1970 and 1979, the first revised and one shortened by one paragraph, are brought together in this handy volume under the rubric of the internal market, regions, and economic space of the colonial economic system. Since Essay V deals with the export economy of Córdoba, 1800-1860, colonial must be understood as subordination to an outside power. The other five essays bring materials from local archives and much detail, as well as new aspects, to the theme already made known to English-speaking audiences by Gwendolyn Cobb and John Lynch on the integration of a vast system of production and trade centered on Potosí and Lima. Essay I, for which Assadourian pays tribute to his teacher, Ceferino Garzón Maceda in Córdoba, studies the role of Córdoba in Peruvian economic space during the sixteenth and seventeenth century stressing the change from textile production to the export of mules. Essay II, continuing the first study, analyzes the commercial relations of the province of Tucumán and Chile as mirrored in the correspondence of two sixteenth-century merchants. Essays III and IV move to a consideration of the larger Peruvian economic space, its period of prosperity and decline, under the aspects of commercial crops, livestock, the textile industry, mining, the role of forced labor, and the domination of the metropole. Essay VI returns to the same general theme, with consideration of the circulation of mining capital, the ways in which the Spanish state, while leaving the Indians land, forced them to serve the Spanish-dominated sectors of the economy through the encomienda, the reparto de mercancías, and the mita in its various forms.

Assadourian accepts the obvious dominance of mining in the interests of the Europeans, but reacts strongly against “la estéril controversia entre modelos puramente abstractos, estáticos” (p. 15). The mining economy he declares a mixture of capitalism, with advanced technology, and uncapitalistic forced labor. He reacts very strongly against the enclave theory since he finds the European influence and the demands of trade and labor penetrating widely and deeply. Similarly, he declares that the discussion of dependency, as by André Gunder Frank and others, erroneously focuses upon imperial networks and basically ignores the very important development of internal economies, which had considerable reach and strength, even if in the end they were deeply affected by imperial interests. Couched in Marxist revisionist terms, the essays are a refreshing union of careful archival research, genuine flexibility, and willingness to let evidence prevail.