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The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of Our Times

A comprehensive analysis of the development of world capitalism over seven hundred years.
The Long Twentieth Century traces the relationship between capital accumulation and state formation over a 700-year period. Arrighi argues that capitalism has unfolded as a succession of “long centuries,” each of which produced a new world power that secured control over an expanding world-economic space. Examining the changing fortunes of Florentine, Venetian, Genoese, Dutch, English and finally American capitalism, Arrighi concludes with an examination of the forces that have shaped and are now poised to undermine America’s world dominance. A masterpiece of historical sociology, The Long Twentieth Century rivals in scope and ambition contemporary classics by Perry Anderson, Charles Tilly and Michael Mann.

Reviews

  • “A vivid, fact-filled expose of the cyclical monetary forces that surge through human society.”
  • The Long Twentieth Century has the grandeur of a sprawling epic and the schematic grace of a Richard Neutra blueprint... It is the single most useful text on offer for anyone who wants to narrate the story of world capitalism—from its nascent form on the rim of the Mediterranean to the current reach of the United States’ empire, and beyond.”

Blog

  • Frédéric Lordon mounts a robust attack on Thomas Piketty and his Capital in the Twenty-First Century

    Two years after the publication of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, this international best-seller is still the object of a great deal of discussion and criticism. While its author is now listed among Time magazine’s 100 most influential figures, the economist Frédéric Lordon ,author of Willing Slaves of Capital has written a robust attack on Piketty’s book for this month’s Le Monde diplomatique. Its title – ‘Thomas Piketty, no danger to capital in the twenty-first century’ gives some idea of the kind of critique he is making.

    Frédéric Lordon’s article sticks out like a sore thumb from the media consensus praising the quality and political depth of Piketty’s book; and well-aware of his both insightful and iconoclastic views on major contemporary debates, Frédéric Taddei invited Lordon onto his programme Ce Soir (ou jamais!), together with Piketty. The question that the two men debated was ‘Should we put capitalism straight?’

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  • Frédéric Lordon: Syriza in a bind

    Frédéric Lordon, author of Willing Slaves of Capital follows his considered analysis of Syriza's "fork in the road", focussing on the difficult choices the new government face in power.



    We knew that the Syriza experience would provide an object lesson in politics, with all the fundamental bases of power and sovereignty being laid bare as the legal and financial niceties evaporated. And here we are: even sooner than we expected.

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  • Frédéric Lordon: Syriza faces a choice between capitulation and open sedition

    This Sunday, 25 January, Greeks will vote in parliamentary elections of potentially historic importance, with Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza coalition currently ahead in the opinion polls. But according to Frédéric Lordon, Germany’s grip on the situation and the Greek radical Left party’s own inconsistencies might condemn it to some painful acrobatics.


    For a long time Europe has been caught in a constitutional trap of its own making, with its neo-liberal treaties offering just two ways out of the current impasse: 1) the financial collapse of the European project, under the weight of its own internal contradictions; or 2) some political mishap coming along that will overthrow the whole system. The ECB’s announcement of the OMT programme [1] has avoided the first of these eventualities – for now – which leaves the second. And that’s the reason why the ‘European-institutional party’ has come to see democracy not as a normal state of political life but rather as a permanent source of threats – and it thinks itself justified in using any means necessary to stamp them out.

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Other books by Giovanni Arrighi