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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

  • From Illusion to Empire: Chuang on The Creation of the Chinese Economy

    Chuang is a collective of communists who consider the “China question” to be of central relevance to the contradictions of the world’s economic system and the potentials for its overcoming. Our goal is to formulate a body of clear-headed theory capable of understanding contemporary China and its potential trajectories. In this first issue, we outline our basic conceptual framework and illustrate the current state of class conflict in China. We also include translated reports and interviews with the proletarians engaged in these struggles, pairing our theory with primary sources drawn from class dynamics that might otherwise remain abstract.

    The selection below comes from our centerpiece article on the socialist era, “Sorghum and Steel: The Socialist Developmental Regime and the Forging of China,” the first in a three part economic history of China. The full first issue including this article will be released in print and online in a few months. To read more, including a sample article from the issue, visit our website.

    Chuang Issue 1 is now available to purchase from AK distro, here.

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  • Taking History Seriously: A Comment on Marramao’s The Passage West

    In the second of a three-part series on Giacomo Marramao's The Passage West: Philosophy After the Age of the Nation State, Hayden White responds to Marramao's reconceptualization of the world system in our era of eroding state sovereignty. The first article in the series, originally published in Política común, can be read here.




    It is a daunting task, certainly, to try to grasp the intrinsic character of the present: to identify its logic and structure beyond the hubbub of contemporary events and to conceptualise this logic and structure in an adequate and appropriate fashion.

    (Marramao, 2012, 221)

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  • History Undergraduate Reading List

    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 offer even better ones.



    Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism
    and
    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

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Other books by Giovanni Arrighi