Archive for the ‘Giovanni Arrighi’ Category

The Guardian‘s economics editor, Larry Elliott, has employed Giovanni Arrighi’s seminal The Long Twentieth Century to help explain the current state of the U.S. economy:

Giovanni Arrighi in his book The Long Twentieth Century argues that there have been four major phases of capitalist development since the Middle Ages, starting in Genoa and moving on to Holland and Britain before the start of American dominance during the Great Depression of 1873-96.

It was during this period, Arrighi argues, that commerce started to play second fiddle in Britain to finance, just as it had in Genoa and Holland when their phases of pre-eminence were drawing to a close. The financialisation of the American economy in turn can be traced back to the mid-1970s, so by this interpretation of history, the dotcom collapse of 2000-01 and the financial crisis of 2007-08 (with the military entanglements in Iraq and Afghanistan sandwiched in between) are part of a much longer term development. According to this thesis, the concentration of economic power on Wall Street, the stagnation of incomes for all but the rich, the structural trade deficit, the military overreach, the switch from being the world’s biggest creditor nation to its biggest debtor add up to a simple conclusion: we are in the twilight years of the long American century.

Such a conclusion is contested in Washington but may help explain why, as Albert Edwards of Société Générale puts it: “Unprecedentedly strong monetary and fiscal stimulus has led to unprecedentedly weak recovery.” This will worry Bernanke, who made his name explaining how policy makers could avoid repeating the mistakes made during Japan’s lost decade and can anticipate the dire consequences of a period of deflation for a nation wallowing in debt.

Read the full article here.

Arrighi, who died last year, was also the author of Adam Smith in Beijing and a regular contributor to New Left Review. You can read David Harvey’s obituary here.


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Historical Materialism’s new issue is a special symposium on Giovanni Arrighi‘s Adam Smith in Beijingout now

Historical Materialism

Research in Critical Marxist Theory

Volume 18 Issue 1 is out now



Alberto Toscano
Beyond Abstraction: Marx and the Critique of the Critique of Religion

Symposium on Giovanni Arrighi‘s Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century

Liam Campling
Editorial Introduction to the Symposium on Giovanni Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing

Christopher Chase-Dunn
Adam Smith in Beijing: A World-Systems Perspective

Richard Walker
Karl Marx between Two Worlds: The Antinomies of Giovanni Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing

Leo Panitch
Giovanni Arrighi in Beijing: An Alternative to Capitalism?

Lucia Pradella
Beijing between Smith and Marx

Flemming Christiansen
Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing: Engaging China


Donald V. Kingsbury
on Steve Ellner’s Rethinking Venezuelan Politics: Class, Conflict and the Chávez Phenomenon; Eva Golinger’s Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela; Gregory Wilpert’s Changing Venezuela by Taking Power: The History and Policies of the Chávez Government.

Jeff Kinkle
Guy Debord’s Correspondence: The Foundation of the Situationist International (June 1957-August 1960); Michele Bernstein’s All the King’s Horses; McKenzie Wark’s 50 Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International.

Frédérick Guillaume Dufour
on Pierre Bourdieu‘s The Social Structures of the Economy.

Robert J. Knox
on Bill Bowring’s The Degradation of the International Legal Order? The Rehabilitation of Law and the Possibility of Politics.

Historical-Critical Dictionary of Marxism: Christopher J. Arthur.

All enquiries historicalmaterialism@soas.ac.uk

The issue available electronically here.

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Ramon Myers, Senior Fellow and Curator of the East Asian Archives at Stanford University, reviews Giovanni Arrighi‘s Adam Smith in Beijing for The China Journal:

This fascinating study of global trends in the last three centuries details how noncapitalist and capitalist market economies have interacted to influence their societies. … Arrighi explains the reasons that China, now leading Asian market economy, might soon surpass the Western capitalist-market economy by use of his reinterpretation of Adam Smith’s vision, which he has conceptualized as the “Smithian new Asia age model”. In China. argues Arrighi, economic organizations never lost their capacity to reproduce themselves and never lost control of their means of production. The Chinese economy succeeded because it developed a division of labor that in turn increased income and employment. … Arrighi explains China’s actions by reexamining Adam Smith’s writings, arguing first that Smith had always called for a strong state with the ability to eliminate private and state monopolies in favor of a competitive market economy. … Finally, Arrighi remind his readers that friendship and cooperation between China and theUnited States, based on mutual respect, is one of several future options. He hopes to promote a new mind-set that would lead to a Sino-American-led worldwide commonwealth.

The complete review appears in the issue 61 of The China Journal.

Giovanni Arrighi (1937–2009) was Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. His books include The Long Twentieth Century, and his work has appeared in many publications, including New Left Review.

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David Harvey, Distinguished Professor at the City University of New York (CUNY) and author of the forthcoming Introduction to Marx s Capital and many other books, remembers Giovanni Arrighi for the Guardian:

Arrighi, GiovanniThe Italian scholar of political economy and sociology Giovanni Arrighi, who has died of cancer aged 71, was an outstanding teacher and mentor. He will be best remembered for his trilogy of works analysing global capitalism, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of Our Times (1994); Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System (with his wife, Beverly Silver, 1999); and Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-first Century (2007).

Giovanni had the uncanny ability to extract clear patterns from the swirling complexities of the historical record. He also possessed the scholarly integrity and patience to marshal compelling evidence for his arguments, thereby establishing his reputation as one of the greatest comparative historical sociologists. His unbounded courtesy and generosity towards his colleagues (particularly those with whom he disagreed) and, above all, to his many students, will be missed.

History, he was fond of remarking, is never a done deal, any more than the frameworks we devise to understand it. He had, he once told me, only two regrets: that he had not learned to play the piano or to converse in Mandarin. Yet he taught us to think about China in a radically different way and his ability to play exquisitely on the infinite variations in the history of capitalist accumulation will long echo in our ears.

Giovanni is survived by Beverly and Andrea, a son by a former marriage.

• Giovanni Arrighi, political economist and sociologist, born 7 July 1937; died 18 June 2009

Read David Harvey’s obituary in full.

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Layout 1Jeong Seong-jin, professor of economics at Gyeongsang National University, South Korea, reviews Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-first Century by Giovanni Arrighi for International Socialism.

Professor Jeong’s review is translated by Owen Miller, who notes:

In South Korea the writings of Giovanni Arrighi have become popular among a section of the intellectual left who have wholeheartedly adopted his reworking of Marxism and welcomed his positive appraisal of a possible China-centred future. Jeong’s polemical attack on Arrighi’s concept of a “non-capitalist market society” should therefore also be understood in the context of South Korean left politics.”

Read the full review here.

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Giovanni Arrighi (1937-2009)

A memorial site has been set up by Beverly Silver allowing people to share their memories and stories of Giovanni Arrighi.

The site address is: http://www.sympathytree.com/giovanniarrighi1937/

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Arrighi, GiovanniGiovanni Arrighi passed away on Thursday 18th June. He was one of the foremost scholars of the history and future of capitalism, and author of The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of Our Times and Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century. A conference was recently held in his honour in Madrid. Earlier this year David Harvey interviewed Giovanni for New Left Review about his life’s work and it can be read here.

Verso 9781844671045 adam smith in beijing small

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