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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. In the late eighteenth century, the political economist Adam Smith predicted an eventual equalization of power between the conquering West and the conquered non-West.
He examines how the recent US at In the late eighteenth century, the political economist Adam Smith predicted an eventual equalization of power between the conquering West and the conquered non-West. In the 21st century, China may well become again the kind of noncapitalist market economy that Smith described, under totally different domestic and world-historical conditions.
Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published November 17th by Verso first published September 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions 9. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Adam Smith in Beijing , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Adam Smith in Beijing. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order.
Sep 26, David M rated it it was amazing. Truly fascinating. One of the most thought provoking books I've read in the last year or so. This is true even if Arrighi's thesis never really becomes clear and he has to hedge considerably in his conclusions. The book is at least as much about the US as China. For the bulk of it, Arrighi makes an extremely convincing case that our country is in the midst of its terminal crisis as global capitalist hegemon.
Published ten years ago, when the Iraq fiasco was still fairly fresh, its analysis has b Truly fascinating. Published ten years ago, when the Iraq fiasco was still fairly fresh, its analysis has been well substantiated by the intervening decade. The most pessimistic predictions of the anti-war movement have proven true. Bush's invasion permanently destabilized the Middle East, letting loose a chaos that continues to spiral and threatens to engulf the globe.
On the home front, our foreign policy debacles were one factor leading to the total discrediting of our political class. To the point where, for a large portion of the electorate, a clown like Trump could seem like a more plausible candidate for chief executive than many a professional politician as a side note, much as I lamented the result of the election last November, with time it seems increasingly clear that Hillary Clinton did indeed deserve to lose; here was someone who not only supported the invasion at the time, but has adamantly refused to learn anything from it, strongly advocating more bombing campaigns in Libya and Syria; it's entirely plausible her foreign policy would have been more disastrous than Trump's.
Everything would then seem to point to a situation ongoing turbulence, both in the capitalist heartland and in peripheral states. The author knows this, but evidently feels the need to offer a more hopeful alternative.
This is where China comes in, with its peaceful ascent to the status of economic superpower. Arrighi makes the case that China's rise has not simply been a repudiation of the revolutionary heritage of the People's Republic. Rather, Deng Xiaoping built on and consolidated Mao's achievements. Moreover, China's development does not vindicate the neoliberal school of economics. Arrighi here turns to Adam Smith to help theorize a market-based form of development that is nonetheless non-capitalist.
This is all very interesting, but nonetheless the fit between the two parts of the book is not entirely convincing. China arrives as a kind of deus ex machina. It's not clear how its rise is supposed to offset the chaos unleashed by the decaying imperium of the United States.
As indicated by his liberal use of the conditional tense in the epilogue, Arrighi himself is aware of the gaps in his analysis. I think it's to his credit that he doesn't try prematurely to paper them over. The simple fact is that the future is not determined. Nonetheless, Giovanni Arrighi has provided an incredibly helpful framework to make sense of the 21st century as it unfolds. View all 4 comments.
Sep 18, Bertrand rated it liked it Shelves: s , s , xviiith-century , xviith-century , xxith-century , xxth-century , xixth-century , capitalism , china , colonialism. Arrighi was one of the leading figures in that leftist mixture of economic and political analysis known as 'world-system theory', pioneered by Immanuel Wallerstein and-I would imagine-much indebted to the Annales. Adam Smith in Beijing is the third instalment in an informal trilogy covering the spread and transformation of Capitalism, particularly focused on the XXth century.
Provocative as it may sound, the title actually captures the essence of the book: the author contends throughout the book Arrighi was one of the leading figures in that leftist mixture of economic and political analysis known as 'world-system theory', pioneered by Immanuel Wallerstein and-I would imagine-much indebted to the Annales. Provocative as it may sound, the title actually captures the essence of the book: the author contends throughout the book that China, if it can become the leader and model for the Global South it seems bound to become, will soon replace the U.
China's developmental path, which he reads in an extended historical context, he takes to reflect much more accurately than Britain did in the XIXth century, the prescriptions of Adam Smith. Not unlike Jerry Muller's Adam Smith in His Time and Ours: Designing the Decent Society though from a markedly left-wing anti-imperialist, in particular perspective, Arrighi, in the book's first part, endeavours to salvage Adam Smith from the claims of free-market fundamentalists.
Calling upon Schumpeter and Marx, whose account of capitalism as creative destruction he contrasts with Smith's defense of 'mere' markets, as a tool for governing rather than an end in itself.
As Braudel once did, Arrighi, and Smith in his account, in fact defend the markets, as a nationally bound and balanced institution, against the emergence of capitalism proper. Whereas the markets are largely agrarian and depend on the national population and its wealth, capitalism instead periodically migrate toward ever larger host organisms, leading nations toward expansion at the expense of the 'optimisation' of their home-markets.
It is refreshing to find to read such unapologetically 'grand' narration at the world-scale, covering in some depth the twin monsters Behemoth and Leviathan! This, however, does not make for an easy read: this reader, very much ignorant of economics and largely unschooled in the intricacies of international politics, sometimes found himself convinced he had bit more than he could chew.
The economic section of the second part concerned with the downfall of US authority was particularly difficult, and aside from the urgent realisation that I needed to upgrade my understanding of financial and fiscal history, I am not sure I have gotten much out of it. The scope and mastery of Arrighi's account also have the 'unintended consequence' of underlining what is absent from his account: changes in information circulation, or legal frameworks, for example, which in the case of China's eventful transformation have probably had a crucial influence.
In the comfortably retrospective position of , it is also, unfortunately, clear that Hu Jintao's commitment to a 'New Socialist Countryside' was quite as likely to be an accident on the capitalist road, as to be a legacy of China's revolutionary tradition. As consumerism takes control throughout the layers of Chinese society, it also seems unclear how long the benefits of its 'industrious revolution' will last.
Furthermore, Xi Jinping's sometimes forceful usage of economic diplomacy might indicate that China's approach was or became purely pragmatic, rather than in any committed sense concerned with 'the global south'. Finally, a contention I am sure a more competent reader would be easily able to dispel, I was surprised by Arrighi's insistence on Smith as an apostle of the social as opposed to technical division of labour. Having since started reading The Wealth of Nations, I find it very difficult to interpret Smith's prescriptions as anything but a precursor of taylorism.
I will have to finish the book, and probably read a little more on the subject before I can decide firmly whether, as Arrighi seems to contend, Smith was indeed defending small ish specialised production units with a high degree of flexibility. View 2 comments. Jan 01, Will rated it really liked it. My main problem with the book is how it defines capitalism through the lens of Adam Smith and Braudel. Arrighi dismisses Marx and wage-labor as the root of capitalism.
He stresses the role of the state in building the market and the historical Chinese state's role in limiting the market and full blown capitalism.
I do give credit to Arrighi for being positive about China's growth and partially progressive nature, while other leftists have totally dismissed China without a very deep understanding of the country or culture. However, this still does NOT let Arrighi off the hook for not seeing how far down the road towards capitalism the Chinese state really is.
The state may still own the land but the system of selling leases mimics capitalist land ownership. For me the real question is will the current reforms in land tenure lead to greater concentration of wealth as well as lead the way to a total establishment of capitalism. While I disagree with the book, I found it really well-written, fascinating, and deeply hopeful about the world's future.
Mar 28, Mladen rated it really liked it. I haven't read those two yet, unfortunately. In short, Arrighi explains how the global economy might change in the future, manifesting itself in the transfer of power from the west to the east, geograph Arrighi's book "Adam Smith in Beijing" finds its intellectual basis in the World Systems Analysis Theory formed by Immanuel Wallerstein. In short, Arrighi explains how the global economy might change in the future, manifesting itself in the transfer of power from the west to the east, geographically speaking.
However, in reality, there is a certain level of uncertainty as to what will actually happen. Adam Smith's name is mentioned in the title because he comments China in the Wealth of Nations. Smith considered the Asian economic model a more "natural" way of market development, with more focus on domestic trade in contrast to the European model which focused more on foreign trade. The same European model was more often prone to imperialist tendencies and exploitation of foreign markets.
China was one of its victims in the infamous Opium Wars, which is also indicative of the west favoring military power when trade and diplomacy don't go their way.
This imperialist model was according to Arrighi unknown to the East-Asian states and was further forced on them. He gives a more elaborate and less simplified explanation of this than me.
Adam Smith en Pekín (Cuestiones de antagonismo)
In the late eighteenth century, the political economist Adam Smith predicted an eventual equalization of power between the West and the territories it had conquered. In this magisterial new work, Giovanni Arrighi shows how China's extraordinary rise invites us to reassess radically the conventional reading of The Wealth of Nations. China may soon become again the kind of noncapitalist market economy that Smith described, an event that will reconfigure world trade and the global balance of power. Together they constitute a stunning work of world history with theoretical and political intent whose intellectual roots lie in a mix of radical historiographical traditions. Arrighi argues his case in great detail — using an elaborate exegesis of The Wealth of Nations , which will send many readers back to that text in amazement.
Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century
Review of Giovanni Arrighi, Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-first Century