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Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  512 ratings  ·  36 reviews
In this short, highly readable book Immanuel Wallerstein provides a condensation of the central ideas of his monumental study of capitalism as an integrated, historical entity: The Modern World-System. In developing an anatomy of capitalism over the past five centuries, Wallerstein traces those elements that have constantly changed and evolved, while giving equal attention ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published January 17th 1996 by Verso (first published June 1st 1983)
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Nikos Tzhmas
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Όταν έχουμε 2020, έχεις γεννηθεί το '97 και ενδιαφέρεσαι για τη μελέτη της ριζοσπαστικής σκέψης και θεωρίας, βιώνεις μερικές μεγάλες ατυχίες.

Μία από αυτές είναι πως οι μεγάλου βεληνεκούς θεωρητικοί διάλογοι έχουν περάσει μαζί με τα αντίστοιχα κινήματα που τους γέννησαν, ίσως ανεπιστρεπτί. Η κουβέντα που ξεκίνησε ο Δομισμός το '50 - '60 απέναντι στη φαινομενολογία, αλλά και ο τρόπος που τα θεωρητικά σχήματα του '60 υπέκυψαν μπροστά στις αντηχήσεις του Μάη του '68. Η αντίσταση που άρθρωσε η θεωρί
Beyza Yavuzcan
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Çok iyi. Kapitalizme giriş için çok uygun bence. Basitçe kapitalizm tanımı, tarihsel gelişimi ve bitişi durumunda olası senaryolar konu edinilmiş. Bence çok çok iyi ve anlaşılır bir dili var. Marksizm'e güzel bir bakış sunuyor. Tavsiye edebileceğim güzel bir eser. Katkısı mutlaka olacaktır. ...more
Ferda Nihat Koksoy
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy

-K.Marx KAPİTALİZM'İN 3 büyük ÇELİŞKİSİNİ kısaca şöyle anlatmıştır:

1) Özel sektörün KİŞİSEL çıkarı ile KOLEKTİF/KAMUSAL çıkar arasındaki PARADOKS


3) Kendisinin en büyük MOTORU olan "REKABET" ile yine kendisinin en büyük TUTKUSU olan "TEKELLEŞME" arasındaki PARADOKS.

-Bu açmazlarda devlet, KAPİTALİSTE
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sermaye üretim ekseninde, yaşamlarımız dahil her şeyin metalaştırılması sürecini ele alarak başlayan Wallerstein, standart Marksist yaklaşımdan farklı bir perspektiften halen nedir diye kafa yorulan Kapitalizm sisteminin tarihselliğinin tüm işleyiş çelişkileri ile net soru ve cevapları ortaya koyarak etkileyici bir düşünüşe sevk ediyor. Sermayenin konumlanışı, yeni Pazar anlayışı, beğeni yaratma pratiği, modern bilim aynı zamanda iktidar aygıtı olan Devlet kurumunun Kapitalist sistem ile iç içe ...more
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
A swift, lucid narrative of just what's happened these last 500 years. Wallerstein writes with wit, clarity, and concision, and his analysis swoops through time gloriously. Also admirable: his clear explanation that though Marx was a great thinker, Marx himself recognized that he was a man of his time, and that thinkers in the future would need to keep up the analysis and develop understanding of the ways Capital always continues to mutate. Wallerstein has thought, deeply, about this stuff for s ...more
An extremely accessible primer on (the historical world-system of) capitalism from a predominantly historical materialist perspective, looking at household structure, the evolution of racism and institutional sexism, geographic distribution, anti-systemic movements, etc. Due to its brevity, much of what he outlines is not fully argued - though presumably is articulated in his extensive multi-volume Modern World System. Regardless, Historical Capitalism provides an absolutely necessary lens in vi ...more
Aung Sett Kyaw Min
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
The author seems to share Marx's prophecy that contradictions inherent in the functioning of capitalism will inexorably tear the system apart in a structural crisis, though he is not convinced that the crisis will necessarily culminate into a classless egalitarian society. He also believes that past anti systemic struggles around the globe not only failed to dismantle capitalism, but actually reinforced the status quo, to the extent that their ultimate strategy (seizure of state power) was effec ...more
Satır Arası
Satır Arası grubu olarak 14. oturumumuzda Tarihsel Kapitalizm'i yorumlayacaktık, ancak hiçbirimiz kitabı bitiremedik. Bu duruma çevirinin çok kötü olması ve kitabın aslında çok ciddi bir akademik arkaplanda yazılmış olması gibi sorunlar sebep oldu. Dolayısıyla, gerçekten çabalamamıza rağmen bu kitabı hiçbirimiz yarılayamadık bile. Bu yüzden tüm takipçilerimizden özür dileriz.

Biz yine de oturumumuzu çektik, kitaba biraz dokunduktan sonra farklı konulara kaydık ister istemez :)

YouTube'da videoyu i
Wendy Liu
Not perfect but very much worth reading. Longer review forthcoming.
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I understand they're supposed to be somewhat readable essays detailing 500 years of history, but I felt like Wallerstein makes a lot of grand claims that would require entire books of their own to explore (for example, that sexism wasn't really institutionalized until capitalism). I'm sympathetic to a lot of these claims, which is why I was frustrated that there weren't any further sources to explore, or even many historical examples, either of which would have helped his argumentation greatly. ...more
Yelda Altunal
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Giambo
May 24, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
A book that makes sweeping generalizations with no evidence. Apparently historical capitalism is the cause of sexism, racism and runaway liberal individualism (all at once). My favorite quote: "by no means self-evident that there is more liberty, equality, and fraternity in the world toady than there was one thousand years ago. One might arguably suggest that the opposite is true.." Take your pick - live in 1014 or 2014. ...more
Ben Jaques-Leslie
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really love the cover of this book. I remember this being sold to me as a kind of contemporary Marxism. I have positive feelings about this book, but not much else
Jan 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i am forever indebted to him.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why the author insists on "historical capitalism": the word capitalism has worked fine so far. But alright...

While otherwise fine and sometimes insightful (particularly on the "ethnicization of labor" and the role of racism in propping up "historical capitalism"), Chapter 3 takes a hard turn into a screed against the Enlightenment ("ideology of universalism") and at times explicitly equates nationalism and labor socialist movements. Both, he argues, have fallen into the "trap" of i
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A primer for those interested in Wallerstein's thoughts about historical materialism. First published in 1983, its description of 'capitalism' as a 'historical system' still holds remarkable salience today. Taking a structural point of view, Wallerstein is less concerned with the mechanics of capitalism across time and space but rather focuses on its logic and inherent contradictions. The latter part of the book is the most rewarding as Wallerstein picks apart arguments that claim we have done b ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even considering that these two essays are soon to be 40 years out of date, they present a penetrating (although concise) overview of the strengths and vagaries of the capitalist world-system, and go as far as broadly projecting the new systemic forms that may arise as the capitalist system falls further into decay.

Possibly the boldest argument raised here by Wallerstein is his insistence that anti-systemic movements, in their various forms from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth,
Andrew Feist
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-history
Really Really important reading for everyone. A much better description of capitalism than any abstract 'model' of how markets work or anything.
Filled with deep insights and illuminating descriptions.
Short, easy, very very worthwhile read.
Ani Azuela
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me ayudó a entender como el racismo sistemático y el machismo van de la mano con el capitalismo. Me hubiera gustado que estuviera un poco más largo pero creo que es mejor abordar estos temas poco a poco.
Corazón Rodríguez Soriano
À pesar de ser un referente para la explicación del capitalismo histórico, puede llegar a ser pesado. termina explicando un capítulo en las últimas 2-3 páginas del final de cada capítulo.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Mi aspetto di meglio da Wallerstein, pare scritto da un ragazzo un po' incazzato prima di andare a dormire. ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: required-reading
A surprisingly readable book, considering that the language is difficult.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A really good predecessor to Woods' work on the history of capitalism. Interesting to learn more about world-systems theory and Wallerstein's sort of post-Marxism. ...more
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good primer/introduction to world systems analysis, world economy, and (although unspoken) the concept of time-scales of history (derived from Braudel).
Scriptor Ignotus
In these two deceptively short essays, Wallerstein lays out what he believes to be the overriding principles governing the development of capitalism as a socio-economic phenomenon. He writes very broadly and vaguely, which is unsurprising given that, as he places the beginnings of "historical capitalism" in the fifteenth century, we are talking about a very long-term process which has undergone various adjustments. Unfortunately, I found the book's broadness to be a weakness, when I was hoping i ...more
Igor Alexeev
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In his concise and revelatory book “Historical Capitalism: With Capitalist Civilization” Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein, Director of the Fernand Braudel Center at the State University of New York, offers a deep and well-grounded analysis of the Western economic system. He studies its historical origins over the past five centuries and explores social mechanisms and institutes of advancing capitalism. His work highlights key development stages of a unified world market and a framework of foreign tr ...more
Dec 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Still reading this one, so perhaps premature to give it a review. This more detailed and sometime laborious work is a focused on capitalism as a system. Some may find it overly dry as it reads like an economics text, with almost a techniqual feel in some parts. But in short W cuts to the meat of various forces at work in capitalism historically. Some of the arguements do not seem fully developed for reasons of space, but at just over 100pg its not a difficult undertaking. Also included is the es ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as the author says, it is necessary to conceive the capitalism as a historical system, along its history as well as within its concrete, unique reality. From this idea, he exposes that reality from economic, political and cultural-ideological viewpoints in such an accurate and even prophetical way that some paragraphs made me feel shivers down my spine when I thought it was written 30 years ago.
Wallerstein reminds us what Karl Marx himself already knew - he was a 19th century man whose visi
Dec 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Wallerstein provides a very cursory look to the historical trends and motivations of capitalism. This book is a good introduction to some basic economic history, as it focuses more broadly on themes, but provides little in the way of depth. My main critique is that he doesn't cite any sources for his arguments and relies heavily on metaphor (often Biblical) to make his points. He does call for an ethical reevaluation of the current system in a future economic model and is considered among the cl ...more
Louis Cheng
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A short but ambitious book that offers sweeping and often penetrating analyses of capitalism as a historical phenomenon dating back to 16C. A very readable intro to Wallerstein's famed world-systems analysis, whose methodology purports to transcend structures and divisions of knowledge inherited from the 19C. (this book does not really deal with the latter point concerning structures of knowledge. For a concise intro to that, I recommend reading Chapter 1 of Wallerstein's another book, "World-Sy ...more
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Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein was a scholar of politics, sociologist, historical social scientist, and world-systems analyst. His bimonthly commentaries on world affairs were syndicated.

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