In this major, paradigm-shifting work, Kojin Karatani systematically re-evaluates Marx's version of world history, shifting the focus of critique from modes of production to modes of exchange.
Karatani seeks to understand both capital-nation-state, the interlocking system that's the dominant form of modern global society, and the possibilities for superseding it. He traces different modes of exchange, including the pooling of resources that characterizes nomadic tribes, the gift exchange systems developed after the adoption of fixed-settlement agriculture, the exchange of obedience for protection that arises with the emergence of the state, the commodity exchanges that characterize capitalism, and, finally, a future mode of exchange based on the return of gift exchange, albeit modified for the contemporary moment. He argues that this final stage - marking the overcoming of capital, nation, and state - is best understood in light of Kant's writings on eternal peace. The Structure of World History is in many ways the capstone of Karatani's brilliant career, yet it also signals new directions in his thought.
The book was published by Duke University Press.
"Kojin Karatani is one of the most creative and important thinkers of the early 21st century." (David Graeber, author of The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement)
"Kojin Karatani's monumental and provocative synthesis testifies to a dramatic rebirth of universal history in recent times; but it does so by reuniting traditions - economics, politics, the social imaginary - which have proved increasingly sterile developed separately.... Karatani's own practical and theoretical experience of the cooperative moment opens up political perspectives, which will be politically suggestive and energizing at a moment when left politics seems universally out of breath." (Fredric Jameson, author of Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism)
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