The Long Twentieth Century

The Long Twentieth Century traces the epochal shifts in the relationship between capital accumulation and state formation over a 700-year period. Giovanni Arrighi masterfully synthesizes social theory, comparative history and historical narrative in this account of the structures and agencies which have shaped the course of world history over the millennium.

Borrowing from Braudel, Arrighi argues that the history of capitalism has unfolded as a succession of “long centuries” — ages during which a hegemonic power deploying a novel combination of economic and political networks secured control over an expanding world-economic space. The modest beginnings, rise and violent unravel-ing of the links forged between capital, state power, and geopolitics by hegemonic classes and states are explored with dramatic intensity. From this perspective, Arrighi explains the changing fortunes of Florentine, Venetian, Genoese, Dutch, English, and finally American capitalism. The book concludes with an examination of the forces which have shaped and are now poised to undermine America's world power.

Now a classic of history and sociology, the book is updated in the light of recent events.

A work of great theoretical sophistication and formidable range and depth ... Arrighi's synthesis is highly original and packed with illuminating and
audacious insights. — Geoffrey lngham, Cambridge University

“[A] vivid, fact-filled exposé of the cyclical monetary forces that surge through human society.” — Observer Review

Winner of the American Sociological Association PEWS Award (1995)
for Distinguished Scholarship

Giovanni Arrighi is Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Geometry of Imperialism and Adam Smith in Beijing, and has coauthored several books, including Antisystemic Movements and Dynamics of Global Crisis.