The Long Twentieth Century

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

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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.

    Observer Review
  • 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.

    Los Angeles Review of Books
  • Made no concrete prediction, but nevertheless interpreted the rising power of Wall Street since the 1970s as a symptom of imminent US decline, followed perhaps by an era of Chinese global leadership.

    William DaviesNew Statesman