Category Archives: World

The second American revolution?

Saul Wainwright commented on the previous post in this series, CLR James and the idea of an African revolution: “I have been wondering about how to tie the Egyptian revolution into the larger world system. I was not aware that CLR thought there would be two more revolutions, one being Russian and other being American.… Read More »

Africa in a convergent multi-polar world

Today’s Financial Times has a global economic analysis of considerable historical vision by Martin Wolf. He takes his key terms from Ken Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy (2000). Pomeranz argued that a major gap between China and the West opened up in the late 18th century.… Read More »

World War III

Sunam Son from Chicago wrote to me through the contact form to ask what I meant by my occasional references to a possible World War III. I wrote this in reply. 1. The economic crisis has provoked historical comparisons with the 1930s, but I consider another analogy might be when three decades of financial imperialism… Read More »

An anthropology of the internet

Is an anthropology of the internet possible? If so, what would it look like? I will attempt a provisional answer here, building on my book about the consequences of the digital revolution for the forms of money and exchange. People, machines and money matter in this world, in that order. Most intellectuals know very little… Read More »

Studying world society as a vocation

Introduction I want to start with Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace: a Philosophical Sketch (1795). He held that Cosmopolitan Right, the basic right of all world citizens, should rest on conditions of universal hospitality, that is, the right of a stranger not to be treated with hostility when he arrives on someone else’s territory. In other… Read More »

The digital revolution and me

Mohandas K. Gandhi’s critique of the modern identification of society with the state was devastating. He believed that it disabled citizens, subjecting mind and body to the control of professional experts when the purpose of a civilization should be to enhance its members’ sense of their own self-reliance. He proposed instead that every human being… Read More »

The breakdown of the neoliberal world economy

Now published here by Storicamente as “The great economic revolutions are monetary in nature”: Mauss, Polanyi and the breakdown of the neoliberal world economy. Anthropology in the financial crisis Everybody knows that we are living through a hinge moment in world history generated by the financial crisis of 2008. The collapse of the credit boom… Read More »


The development of capitalism No-one can deny that the human presence on our planet has undergone remarkable development in the last two centuries. In 1800 the world’s population was around one billion. It had grown slowly over the previous 10,000 years since the invention of agriculture. Cipolla (1968) estimates that births regularly exceeded deaths by… Read More »