The twentieth century marked the grand culmination of modernism, set in motion by the material and metaphysical forces unleashed by the European Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. A searing account of the myth and reality of modernism, this provocative analysis offers a critique of the ideologies, and the metaphysical underpinnings, of both capitalism and socialism. Kanth views both as embodiments of the same vein of European materialism, while pointing to the radically contrasting values of these Eurocentered visions of society. Taking the position that human societies are primarily cultural, not material constructs, this work passionately argues for a keen re-evalution of the wisdom inherent in the pre-capitalist, and often extra-European, cultural heritage of humanity in order to determine what lessons might be learned for a human emancipation unmarked by the materialist paradigms of the accumulation of wealth and power.
Rajani Kannepalli Kanth is Visiting Professor of Economics at Duke University in North Carolina.