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New Left Review 56, March-April 2009


GIOVANNI ARRIGHI

THE WINDING PATHS OF CAPITAL

Interview by David Harvey

Could you tell us about your family background and your education?

I was born in Milan in 1937. On my mother’s side, my family background was bourgeois. My grandfather, the son of Swiss immigrants to Italy, had risen from the ranks of the labour aristocracy to establish his own factories in the early twentieth century, manufacturing textile machinery and later, heating and air-conditioning equipment. My father was the son of a railway worker, born in Tuscany. He came to Milan and got a job in my maternal grandfather’s factory—in other words, he ended up marrying the boss’s daughter. There were tensions, which eventually resulted in my father setting up his own business, in competition with his father-in-law. Both shared anti-fascist sentiments, however, and that greatly influenced my early childhood, dominated as it was by the war: the Nazi occupation of Northern Italy after Rome’s surrender in 1943, the Resistance and the arrival of the Allied troops.

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