Giovanni Arrighi

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Evaluation in the context of World Systems Analysis

Friedrich Lenger:

"The first author coming to mind here is Giovanni Arrighi perhaps the outstanding representative of world-system theory who after fifteen years of teaching at the State University of New York at Binghamton had published an original and rigorous attempt to come to terms with the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as dominated by industrial capitalism (cf. Arrighi, 2010). While important for introducing the idea of a cyclical lack of lucrative investment opportunities preceding the often violent change in the hegemonic position the book owed little to Adam Smith. That was different in Arrighi's last book which portrayed “Smithian growth, Industrious Revolution, and non-capitalist market based development” as the superior Chinese alternative to Western industrialism (Arrighi, 2007: 41). While he credited Marx and Schumpeter with equally fruitful insights as Smith they appear as the representatives of a growth path relying on capital- rather than labor-intensive production and proving ultimately to be ecologically devastating."



"Giovanni Arrighi has given us a sequel to

  • The Long Twentieth Century (Verso, 1994), which traces the center of the economic world from Italy to Hollaud to Britain to America. In that book he argued that the key to being a hegemon was to control finance and capital, not labor or technology. The new book also builds on his
  • Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System (with Beverly Silver; Uni versity of Minnesota Press, 1999), which traces the rise and decline of Holland aud then Britain as world economic centers and maps the present position of the United States against those trajectories."

- Frank Dobbin [1]


Arrighi, Giovanni, 2007, Adam Smith in Beijing. Lineages of the Twenty-First Century, London: Verso.

Arrighi, Giovanni, 2010 [1994], The Long Twentieth Century. Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times, London: Verso.