Deep History

A Study in Social Evolution and Human Potential

By David Laibman

Subjects: Comparative Economics
Series: SUNY series in Radical Social and Political Theory
Paperback : 9780791469309, 240 pages, January 2008
Hardcover : 9780791469293, 240 pages, December 2006

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Table of contents


PART I: The General Theory of Social Evolution

1. Agency, Causality, and History

2. Transition to Capitalism: The PF-PR Model and Alternatives

PART II: Capitalism: Structure, Logic, Stadiality

3. The Elusive Anatomy of Capitalist Society

4. The Logic of Capitalism: Growth and Crisis

5. A Stadial Model of the Capitalist Era

PART III: Beyond Capitalism: An Envisioned Future

6. Socialism: Beyond Capital, Beyond Class

7. The Soviet Experience and the Theory of Full Communism


Blends insights from several disciplines to offer a general theory of social evolution.


Does history have a direction? Are there principles that unify our experience and show connections among diverse places, times, and cultures? Seeking to answer these questions, Deep History offers a fresh theory of social evolution while thinking grandly about the human condition. With his theory based in the Marxian and historical materialist tradition, David Laibman starts from scratch and utilizes some of the best insights in economics and economic history, sociology, political science, anthropology, history, and philosophy to construct a new framework for understanding the most general aspects of social evolution. He then applies this framework to modern era capitalist societies and, projecting it on a postcapitalist or socialist future, captures an understanding of the core momentum that has characterized our lived experience, a momentum considerate of diversity, contingency, and the role of human consciousness over time.

David Laibman is Professor of Economics at Brooklyn College and The Graduate School, The City University of New York. He is the editor of the journal Science & Society and the author of Value, Technical Change, and Crisis: Explorations in Marxist Economic Theory.


"David Laibman's Deep History is to be welcomed—both for its reassertion of the scientific method against those forms of historical relativism that have become all too common in the wake of the linguistic turn, and for its defense of the socialist political project in the post-Soviet era. " — Science & Society

"This book contains the best overview of the key variables determining capitalist development I've read. It makes just about all earlier work in crisis theory look one-sided and inadequate. " — Tony Smith, author of Technology and Capital in the Age of Lean Production: A Marxian Critique of the "New Economy"

"A book like this, which provides an historical materialist account of history, an analysis of the nature and abstract logic of capitalism, and a theory of socialism is going to attract criticism from all quarters. But Laibman advances ideas that reflect years of thinking, that are clearly and systematically developed, and that are presented in an intelligent and well-argued way. " — William H. Shaw, author of Business Ethics, Fifth Edition