Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Adam Smith in Beijing: Lineages of the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – November 17, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$53.40 $8.81

ITPro.TV Video Training
Take advantage of IT courses online anywhere, anytime with ITPro.TV. Learn more.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews


“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


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.

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (November 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844671046
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844671045
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #922,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
Read more ›
9 Comments 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Read more ›
9 Comments 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Adam Smith in Beijing is both an extension and complementation to Arrighi’s theory of global-historical capitalism and financialization. Arrighi distinguished between the Smithian “natural” path of development and a Marxist/Schumpeterian “unnatural” path of capitalist expansion. In the former, emphasis was placed upon a “social” division of labor utilizing human capital, a sequence of development starting with agriculture and domestic market before turning to manufacturing and overseas expansion, and a strong state utilizing domestic market and economic expansion in the interest of its nation. Introverted, domestic expansion was prioritized over extroverted expansion. In the latter, capitalist logic twisted the path of development towards one starting with overseas expansion and colonization, as well as “technical” division of labor prioritizing development of manufacturing industries. Military domination and control of financialization was necessary in various development stages in the capitalist world-system to maintain a sustainable rate of profit, externalize costs of maintaining the hegemony, and suppressing counter-capitalist dynamics. Arrighi believed that the latter path was doomed to breed its own grave diggers and follow the cycle of prosperity and crisis, while the former path carried hope of transcending such logics, as demonstrated by the rise of East Asia in general and China in particular.
Compared with The Long Twentieth Century, Arrighi had down-played the distinction between capitalist and territorialist logic of domination and revived geopolitical-military as an indispensible component of capitalist world hegemony. But he had apparently exaggerated the decline of US hegemony in comparing invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq with Vietnam war.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse