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.


  • “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.”


  • History Undergraduate Reading List: 50% off!

    All the books on this list are 50% off until Tuesday 8th September as part of our Back to University/Back to School sale. See all the books included in the sale here.

    The inevitable passing of summer is as good a reminder as any that while you may make your own history, you don't make it as you please. The books on our undergraduate history reading list below (all on sale at 50% off) offer even better ones.

    Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism
    Lineages of the Absolutist State 

    Both by Perry Anderson

    “A complex, beautifully interwoven account of Europe from the ancient Greeks to modern absolutist monarchies…Exhilarating.” – Guardian

    Continue Reading

  • Frédéric Lordon: Why Piketty isn't Marx

    One cannot help but feel suspicious when a book titled Capital, claiming to be a ground-breaking work of political economy, receives little but gushing accolades from across the mainstream media. In an article published for Le Monde Diplomatique, Frédéric Lordon lays out why such suspicion might not be ill-founded. For Lordon, Thomas Piketty remains confined within the myopic sphere of accountancy, failing to attend to capitalism as a historical and political phenomenon:

    "Capitalism according to Piketty has no history—only an unvarying age-old law, occasionally disturbed by accidental events, but always returning to its implacable long-term trend, which leaves no room for conflict between social groups, the real force behind institutional change."

    Visit Le Monde Diplomatique to read the article in full. Frédéric Lordon is the author of Willing Slaves of Capital: Spinoza and Marx on Desireand a regular commentator on current events.
  • 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?’

    Continue Reading

Other books by Giovanni Arrighi