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Print version ISSN 2007-2538


MAKIOKA, Yutaka. Following in the footsteps of our forefathers: an introduction to The Structure of World History by Kōjin Karatani. Valenciana [online]. 2020, vol.13, n.25, pp.237-259.  Epub June 15, 2020. ISSN 2007-2538.

This article presents Japanese philosopher Kōjin Karatani´s thought, focused mainly on his recent work The Structure of the World History (2010). In this book, Karatani proposes the concept of “modes of exchange” in order to replace the traditional concept of modes of production. The modes of exchange are conceptualized as follows: mode A (gift and countergift), mode B (submission and protection) and mode C (money and commodity). As dominant modes of exchange of the historical stages, they represent respectively the three social formations (world-systems). To these three modes, Karatani adds the fourth: mode D, which should be the founding principle of the future communism and of the next stage of the human history. In my opinion, however, the characteristic of mode D is only outlined abstractly in this book and is not explained enough in detail, as well as the necessity for the transition to that new historical stage. To fill this gap in theory, it is necessary to look up Karatani´s most recent books and articles published after the release of the book “Structure”. Accordingly, the nature of mode D will be brought to light as a return of primal nomadism that precedes the beginning of the exchange and as a power that invalidates the power of other modes of exchange.

Keywords : Communism; History of mankind; Historical materialism; Marxism; Modes of exchange.

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