Contenu du sommaire : Histoire globale

Revue Actuel Marx Mir@bel
Numéro no 53, avril 2013
Titre du numéro Histoire globale
Texte intégral en ligne Accessible sur l'internet
  • Présentation - p. 7-10 accès libre
  • Dossier : Histoire globale

    • Une crise globale qui attend encore sa résolution - Stéphane Haber, Immanuel Wallerstein, Paul Guillibert, Stéphane Haber, Frédéric Monferrand, Olivier Surel p. 11-27 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Dynamics of (Unresolved) Global Crisis : Thirty Years Later
      The world-system is in a structural crisis. This is not merely a downturn in some parameters, but a moment when the system as a system has moved too far from equilibrium and bifurcates. There are then two alternatives, and the political struggle is over which of the two alternatives is ultimately “chosen” as a result of an infinity of nano-actions by an infinity of actors at an infinity of nano-moments. The outcome cannot be predicted, but it is certain that one of the two branches of the bifurcation will eventually prevail. The article traces how a capitalist world-economy normally functions and how the processes of permitting the maximum accumulation of capital self-exhaust over time, leading to the structural crisis. It traces the mode of functioning of the two principal cyclical rhythms of the historical system - the Kondratieff curves and the hegemonic curves - and why they have now come close to asymptotes they cannot cross. It also traces the impact of the world-revolution of 1968 on the capacity of the system to sustain its geoculture, and the return to independent operation of both the conservative right and the radical left, now liberated from the constraints of the liberal center.
    • La théorie du système monde (TSM) : Analyse de l'histoire mondiale, de la mondialisation et de la crise mondiale - Barry K. Gills p. 28-39 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      The World System Theory : an Analysis of Global History, Globalization and Global Crisis
      This article provides a concise summary of the distinctive concepts and historical interpretations provided by the World System theory developed by the author and the late Andre Gunder Frank. A series of contrasts are made between this new approach and that of classical Marxism and neo-Marxist Wallersteinian world-system theory. A critique is presented of the Eurocentric aspects of these other approaches and an alternative non-Eurocentric analysis is offered. The formulations of the Gills and Frank world system analysis are an attempt to preserve many elements of the Historical Materialist tradition and remain true to its critical intent, while providing a framework that responds to the framing of world development in truly world historical context, and encompasses both the past history of several millennia of world development processes and the problematic of “globalization” and global history.
    • Systèmes-mondes anciens. Processus de domination, de co-évolution et de résistance. L'exemple de la côte est-africaine avant le XVIIe siècle - Philippe Beaujard p. 40-62 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Processes of Domination, Co-Evolution and Resistance : the Case of the East African Coast before the Seventeenth CenturyThis article examines the destiny of Swahili east Africa as periphery of a world-system whose center was the Indian Ocean – point of entry of the Europeans into the system. It analyses the relations between the east African coast, with its continental hinterlands, and the Arabian, Persian, and Indian “cores” of a system characterised by exploitation, slavery, ideological and political domination, but also by the exchange and diffusion of knowledge, weaving, writing, Islam. The article thus re-examines the concepts of labour division, exchange value, money, capital, etc. It highlights the reactive and inventive capacity of Africa, hampered only by its remoteness from the great centers and by the lack of agricultural potential which elsewhere rendered possible a demographical leap and an autonomous upward leverage in power.
    • L'émergence du capitalisme au prisme de l'histoire globale - Philippe Norel p. 63-75 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      The Emergence of Capitalism in the Perspective of Global History
      This article examines the question of the nature and concrete beginnings of capitalism. The essential core of agricultural, craft, commercial and military technologies which make up the context for its European emergence derive from Asia, and were sometimes linked to market economies. Does this mean that capital was therefore at work, elsewhere than in Europe ? Wallerstein dates the capitalism of the modern world-system back to the emergence of European hegemony. Frank and Gills postulate capitalism's pluri-millenial existence, whereas for Braudel, going beyond Marx and Weber, it does not really affirm itself before high-seas trading achieved its positions of monopoly and domination over state authorities. In order to focus the debate on the places and epochs of the birth of capitalism, Morel here proposes to distinguish between « active merchant capitalism », market systems, and capitalism. He therefore proposes a more complex model, based on the interaction between merchant logic and state or territorial logic, which eventually leads, in line with the approach of Arrighi or Mielants, from the diffuse capitalism of the merchants to the modern concentrated capitalism.
    • Où et quand le capitalisme est-il né ? Conceptualisations et jeux d'échelle chez Robert Brenner, Immanuel Wallerstein et André Gunder Frank - Yves-David Hugot p. 76-91 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Where and when was Capitalism Born ? Conceptualisations and Questions of Scale in the Work of Robert Brenner, Immanuel Wallerstein and André Gunder Frank. According to what is a common reading of Marx, the fully-fledged conditions of capitalism combine a particular relation of production (represented by wage-labour) and a particular state of the factors of production (arising from the industrial revolution). Such a configuration brought about the birth of capitalism in England in the second half of the eighteenth century. The need to account for certain phenomena such as the persistence of under-development in the countries of Africa or in south America in the 1970s or, by contrast, the rapid development of Asian economies from the 1990s onwards have led certain historians, sociologists and economists to reappraise the history of capitalism by way of an enlargement of the temporal and geographical perspective. Drawing on the notion of “world-economy” put forward by Fernand Braudel, Immanuel Wallerstein has consequently located the birth of capitalism in the establishment, at the beginning of the 16th century, of a space of unequal production and exchange, polarized between center and periphery, encompassing the whole of Europe and its dependencies. Enlarging on this model, André Gunder Frank has shown that it is possible to trace back to antiquity the existence of a system of accumulation, the historical centre of which had almost always been Asia.
    • Le rendement et le butin. Regard écologique sur l'histoire du capitalisme - Pierre Charbonnier p. 92-105 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      The Yield and the Booty. An Ecological Perspective on the History of Capitalism
      This article examines the history of globalized capitalism from the perspective of the relations to the environment which it helped to construct. It proposes a definition of globalized capitalism as a form of relation to nature. If philosophy has frequently postulated that modernity is characterized by the dissociation between the natural and the social, the history of the economic take-off of the states of Western Europe throws a singular light on this hypothesis. Combining a reading of Karl Polanyi and Kenneth Pomeranz, it can be argued that the logic of commodity always tends to render invisible the relations to the environment which define capitalism. The temporal and spatial lag between those populations which live the concrete experience of the industrial revolution and the enormous natural resources required for its appearance enable us to understand how it has been possible for the representation of the economy to become so radically dissociated from its natural metabolism.
    • Le marxisme face à l'histoire globale - Jacques Bidet p. 106-120 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Marxism in the Face of Global History
      The cyclical standpoint involved in World-System theories – and which climaxes in the question “who will be the next hegemon ?” – would appear to neutralize the Marxist perspective directed towards an ultimate goal which is the end of capitalism and class domination. “Global history” offers a profound renewal of our historical knowledge, questioning some of the classical claims of Marxism. In line with the argument in L'État-monde (2011), it is however argued here that one cannot be satisfied with a purely systemic conception of the present time. Modernity is the effect not only of (world) system but also of (class) structure, “classes” being understood here in terms of a state institution within a nation-state. As a result of the technological developments which it propels, capitalist modernity possesses a structural tendency leading from nation-state to a World (class) State that is involved in the World System. In this sense, the present time can be defined as that of ultimodernity. In this ecological terminus, the human species forms a (class-structured) political community. The tasks of Marxism thus return and are restated, in what is a more complex and more uncertain mode.
  • Interventions

    • Révolution et démystification dans la pensée de Karl Marx - Jean Vioulac p. 121-135 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Revolution and Demystification in the Thinking of Karl Marx
      Marx's aim is to criticize capitalist economy from a scientific point of view. To do so, he operates within the field of classical economics, whose scientific aspect he fully acknowledges. The claim of science is to propose what are universal and necessary laws to which individuals can only submit. The scientific approach of economy thus reduces any protest to the status of a mere utopia. The entire Marxian criticism is based on a fundamental ontological decision which re-defines the subjective activity of the living individual agents as the source of reality, thus re-considering the theoretical field as an emanation of their real process. In this way, Marx highlights the mystification specific to theoretical logic. However he simultaneously discovers “the prosaically real, and by no means imaginary, mystification” inherent to the capitalist production apparatus, and which produces the “phantasmagoric form” of value. This explains why the Revolution, from both the theoretical and the practical point of view, can be defined as demystification.
    • La démocratie entre conflit social et conflit identitaire - André Tosel p. 136-152 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Democracy between Social Conflicts and Identity Conflicts
      This article draws a distinction between social struggles, which cannot be understood without reference to the opposition between capital and labour, and struggles about identity. Social conflicts or class struggles are rooted in the affirmation of the generic determinations (life, work, language). They involve a univeralist dimension which is inscribed in the questioning of the imperial universal characteristic of global capitalist domination. Identity conflicts are grounded on the acknowledgement of certain determinations relating to forms of belonging which have been denied or been dominated and are organised around the opposition between « us » and « them ». Their object is the recognition of what is deemed to be necessary within these identities. This tension requires reexamining, without its being construed as a version of the old structure/superstructure dualism. The pure logic of capitalism is always invested within and over-determined by the dialectic of anthropological differences, for which there is no ultimate resolution. These differences are always bound up with the affirmation of life, work, and speech. It therefore follows, in political terms, that we must avoid the autonomisation of either of these conflicts and that we must therefore take into account the unending movement from one to the other.
    • Keynes et la crise. Hier et aujourd'hui - Paulo NAKATANI, Rémy Herrera p. 153-168 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      Keynes and the Crisis, Then and Now
      The profound ongoing crisis has provided an opportunity for a reemergence of the arguments of John Maynard Keynes. “Keynesian” interpretations of the current crisis are numerous. Most of them only formulate what are bland “reformist” visions, aimed at the introduction of minimal alterations to the functioning of the capitalist system in order to make it survive. The article first analyzes the links between Keynes and the economic mainstream of his time ; it then examines the theoretical model of crisis which he has transmitted. In conclusion, it looks at the anti-crisis policies being implemented today, asking the question whether they are or are not “Keynesian”.
  • En débat

    • Un capitalisme infini ? À propos de Marx, prénom : Karl, de Pierre Dardot et Christian Laval - Stéphane Haber, Frédéric Monferrand p. 169-184 accès libre avec résumé en anglais
      An Infinite Capitalism ? Some Remarks on Marx, prénom : Karl by Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval
      In their recent book, Marx, prénom : Karl, Paris, Gallimard, « Les Essais », 2012, 809 pages, Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval put forward the idea of a contradictory Marx. They argue that his work attempted to bring together two heterogeneous elements : a particularly bleak vision of capitalism as a powerful system endowed with the capacity to reproduce itself and extend its hegemon interminably, a conception of revolutionary will focused on the purportedly emancipatory action of the working class. The article examines the difficulties inherent to such an interpretation and it seeks to demonstrate that what we can understand as Marx's reservations concerning such a view of the question renders his work somewhat less strange and less contradictory than Dardot and Laval would seem to suggest.
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