Category Archives: World

The human economy in a revolutionary moment: political aspects of the economic crisis

Edited transcription of an improvised talk for a seminar, “Social movements and the solidarity economy”, organized by Jean-Louis Laville and Geoffrey Pleyers, EHESS, Paris, 2 February 2012. I was asked to report on the project I am involved in which has the same name as The Human Economy book; but,… Read more »

Jack Goody’s Vision of World History and African Development Today

The first Goody lecture given at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany on 1st June 2011. The lecture is available from the Institute in a handsome print version. I am grateful to Chris Hann for the chance to reflect here on the debt I owe to my… Read more »

Africa in a convergent multi-polar world

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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… Read more »

World War III

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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… Read more »

The breakdown of the neoliberal world economy

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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… Read more »


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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… Read more »