The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power and the Origins of Our Times
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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.
eventual downfall of successive Western great powers. What is most puzzling in terms of a strictly territorialist logic of power is not the lack of an expansionist drive in Ming China but the seemingly unbounded expansionism of European states since the latter half of the fifteenth century. The extraordinary benefits that European governments and businesses could reap by seizing control of trade in and with Asia provide part of the explanation. They none the less provide no answer to three
Spain, the Dutch had already established a strong intellectual and moral leadership over the dynastic states of northwestern Europe, which were among the main beneficiaries of the disintegration of the medieval system of rule. As systemic chaos increased during the Thirty Years War, “[t]he threads of diplomacy [came to be] woven and unwoven at the Hague” (Braudel 1984: 203) and Dutch proposals for a major reorganization of the pan-European system of rule found more and more supporters among
to what the successor of Fordism–Keynesianism might be, or indeed as to whether there will ever be another regime of accumulation with an appropriate mode of regulation. In a similar vein, but using a different conceptual apparatus, Claus Offe (1985) and, more explicitly, Scott Lash and John Urry (1987) have spoken of the end of “organized capitalism” and of the emergence of “disorganized capitalism.” The central feature of introduction 3 “organized capitalism” – the administration and
its subject collectivity into separate, fixed, and mutually exclusive territorial spaces of legitimate dominion. Although the substantive forms and individual trajectories of the states instituted by this differentiation have varied over time, their “species” has been clearly discernible from the seventeenth century to the present day. Today, however, this form of territoriality as the basis for organizing political life seems to be torn apart by a non-territorial, functional space, which has
167 British Capital Exports, 1820–1915 (millions of pounds sterling) capitalism and cosmopolitan (finance) capitalism. Hilferding’s notion corresponds to the first, and provides a fairly accurate picture of the strategies and structures of German capital in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as we shall see in chapter 4. Hobson’s notion, in contrast, corresponds to the second and captures the essential traits of the strategy and structure of British capital during the same