Giovanni Arrighi

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Giovanni Arrighi

Giovanni Arrighi (born July 7, 1937 in Milan , Italy; † June 18, 2009 ) was an Italian sociologist who researched in the field of political economy. Following Immanuel Wallerstein, he was an important exponent of the world system theory .

Live and act

Arrighi began studying economics at the Luigi Bocconi University of Economics in Milan, graduating with a doctorate in 1960. In the following years he worked as a lecturer at various universities in Africa and Italy.

From 1963 Arrighi worked at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (UCRN) in Salisbury (now Harare ). Theoretically, he moved away from the neoclassical theory with its mathematical modeling to a historically-sociologically founded analysis of settler capitalism and the proletarianization of the African peasants. Two of his works played an important role in the young subject of African studies : The Political Economy of Rhodesia (1966) and “Labor Supplies in Historical Perspective: A Study of the Proletarianization of the African Peasantry of Rhodesia” (1969).

In Salisbury, he and eight other lecturers were arrested in July 1966 on charges of political activity because he had criticized the policies of the southern Rhodesian government of the white minority. He was deported after a week in prison. Immediately after these events, Arrighi worked in the Tanzanian Dar es Salaam at the University of Dar es Salaam there .

In 1969 he returned to Europe and took on as a lecturer in the field of sociology and social sciences a. a. various teaching activities at the University of Trento .

Arrighi was politically active again in the 1970s and co-founded the Gruppo Gramsci at the beginning of the decade. As the group drifted more and more towards an orthodox Marxism , Arrigho separated from it in 1973.

From 1979 to 1999 he was Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York in Binghamton . There he taught and researched at the Fernand Braudel Center. In 1999 he moved to Johns Hopkins University , where he was director of the Institute for Global Studies in Culture, Power and History until 2002. From 2003 to 2009 he held a chair in sociology at Johns Hopkins University.

Arrighi was a member of several scientific associations, including the American Sociological Association .

He was married to the sociologist Beverly Silver until the end of his life . He had a son from a previous marriage. Arrighi died in June 2009 as a result of cancer.

Forecast: the decline of the United States as a world hegemon and the rise of China

Arrighi describes the globalization process that has been going on since the 16th century, in which one hegemonic power replaces the other (Holland, England, USA, in future China). In numerous books and articles on the economic competition between states, he postulates the existence of “systemic accumulation cycles”. This postulate is based on the observation of structural similarities between the first third of the 18th century (the end of the Gouden Eeuw of the Netherlands) and the beginning and the end of the 20th century, which Fernand Braudel made. Each of these three cycles of accumulation ended with the withdrawal of capital from the productive realm and the dominance of finance capital. The industrial decline has always been associated with an increase in imports, from which other regions profited.

Based on this, Arrighi predicted the imminent decline of the United States as a global hegemonic power. All attempts to rule the world through “dominance without hegemony ” have failed. Military power is still in the hands of the hegemon , but the hegemon no longer has the financial means to remedy its structural weakness. The greatest failure of US neoconservative imperial policy was its inability to prevent emerging China from rising to the center of the world economy where it could establish a fourth cycle of accumulation. Arrighi does not see the basis of the rise of China in the market reforms since 1980, but in the preceding land reform, which only laid the foundation for this: China's greatest advances in per capita income occurred after 1980, but the greatest advances in life expectancy Adult literacy and, to a lesser extent, adult literacy rates were reached before 1980. According to Arrighi, a long epoch of clashes between two tendencies lies ahead: the tendency of the global economy to create a new center in East Asia and the US claims to the building of a world empire. However, because the American-dominated world order triggered the debt crisis in the Third World through the strengthening of the dollar and undermined entire regions such as the African continent, their economic exploitation has now become much more difficult. For Arrighi, all signs point not in the direction of a new world order, but rather a "systematic chaos".

Fonts (selection)

  • With Beverly Silver: Chaos and Governance in the Modern World System . University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis 1999, ISBN 0816631514 .
  • Adam Smith in Beijing. The genealogy of the 21st century . VSA Verlag, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-89965-203-1 .
  • Editor with Christina Kaindl: Capitalism reloaded. Controversies on Imperialism, Empire, and Hegemony . VSA Verlag, Hamburg 2007, ISBN 3-89965-181-2 .
  • With Beverly Silver: The Tangled Paths of Capital . VSA Verlag, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-89965-368-7 .
  • The long twentieth century. Money, power, and the origins of our times . Verso, London / New York 2010, ISBN 978-1-84467-304-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Fernand Braudel: Civilization matérielle, économie et capitalisme (XVe – XVIIIe siècles). Paris 1979 (3 volumes).
  2. ^ Giovanni Arrighi: Adam Smith in Beijing. The genealogy of the 21st century. Hamburg 2008.
  3. ^ Tobias ten Brink : Conflicts of States. On the analysis of geopolitics and imperialism - an overview . Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8252-2992-4 , pp. 206-215.