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Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (November 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844671046
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844671045
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“In this deeply learned, sharply argued, and fascinating book Giovanni Arrighi shows that the mandate of capitalist heaven is shifting to China, more generally to East Asia, but Americans won’t like it. We are witnessing both a return to centuries of past practice, and an auger for a 21st century that, in his view, will be defined by East Asian advance and American retreat. Meanwhile Professor Arrighi offers a truly insightful analysis of the thought of a great political economist: Adam Smith. This is by far the best book to date in the rapidly-growing literature on ‘China’s rise.’”—Bruce Cummings

“Proceeding from a bracing re-reading of Smith and Marx, through a reconsideration of the ‘Great Divergence’ of East and West, to a blistering deconstruction of the Project for a New American Century, Arrighi dismisses neo-liberal interpretations of China’s economic ‘miracle’ and credits instead China’s own robust market economy tradition. In the process, he leads us on a breathtaking tour of the history of world capitalism over the past three hundred years, and suggests where we may be headed in the future.”—William T. Rowe

“In this wonderfully provocative and wide-ranging book, Arrighi offers a fresh and challenging interpretation of China’s economic ascent.”—Gillian Hart

“The convincing power of Arrighi’s argument lies in his choice to conceive geopolitics as the endless process of construction of political cultures associating class conflicts and collective commonwealth in different specific ways.”—Samir Amin

“An original, brilliant, always powerfully challenging analysis.”—Wang Hui

“In the vast landscape of literature on China rising Giovanni Arrighi´s Adam Smith in Beijing stands out as a beacon of bold creativity and as pursuing a sustained trail-blazing argument.”—Goran Therborn

Review

Arrighi leads us on a breathtaking tour of the history of world capitalism over the past three hundred years, and suggests where we may be headed in the future. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on December 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Adam Smith in Beijing" by Giovanni Arrighi delivers a sophisticated history and analysis of the rise of the Asian economy. Displaying a deep knowledge of world history including novel insights into the works of Adam Smith and Karl Marx, Mr. Arrighi helps us understand why China's ascent has arrived at the moment when the dream of a single world capitalist state as conceived and championed by the U.S. has failed. Impeccably researched and cogently written, this accessible book succeeds in providing historical perspective on how China has come to be a key player on the world stage.

Mr. Arrighi discusses how China's mixed economy of today conforms to Adam Smith's vision of a large market economy managed by an active government that ensures improved living standards for all; in fact, Smith reasoned that Asia might one day grow to assume parity with Europe. We learn that China's Industrious Revolution leveraged its large internal market and abundant labor supply to develop a diverse economy where wealth was widely dispersed among the population. In contrast, the West's Industrial Revolution conformed more or less to Karl Marx's analysis inasmuch as it allowed a relatively small class to own the means of production, secure power and finance a succession of military/industrial states whose imperialistic adventures were intended to guarantee an endless expansion of the capitalist system.

Mr. Arrighi tracks the global turbulences that have been wrought as a consequence of the Western development path; the process of creative destruction inherent in the capitalist model has grown ever larger beginning with the small Italian city-states to the Dutch, British and, finally, the American empire.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By fCh on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The book begins with an analysis of the differences between free markets and capitalism, and evolution scenarios of capitalism. For the first hundred-some pages, Arrighi is SLOWLY building the theoretical foundation of his argument and draws from several sources ranging from Adam Smith and Marx to Hannah Arendt and Schumpeter, from countless (non-)academic citations to his own observations.

Historically, capitalism occurs in the later stages, and at the expense, of free markets, and requires ever expansive institutions and policies. According to Arrighi, the evolution of the USA, being the latest and most expansive capitalist power, has taken the capitalist logic to its earthly limits. Indeed, the US has continued on the trajectory set by the earlier capitalist powers--the Italian Republics, Dutch Empire and British Empire--by creating more powerful capitalist frameworks, alas all this has already come to a too high of a price for itself and the planet.

And, while the above arguments go back and forth, with factual illustrations and theoretical considerations, China is being analyzed in historical, comparative and Asian contexts. With the exception of some 150 years, at least for the past 5-600 years, China has been not only different from the West (and its capitalist models), but also very affluent. The differences come in many ways: military outlook and projection of power, trade, state institutions, relationships between the state and its citizens/other states, productivity, innovation and on and on. In fact, Arrighi seems to infer that, for the most part of that time interval, the Chinese have been as much closer to a free market system as far away from the capitalist system.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. F. Piribauer on February 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
Arrighi shows how China's extraordinary rise invites us to read The Wealth of Nations (A.Smith) in a radically different way than is usually done. In the 21st centrury China may well become again the kind of non-capitalist market economy that Smith described in the 17hundreds.
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