Samir Amin and beyond: the enduring relevance of Amin’s approach to political economy

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12 Citations (Scopus)


In moments of great uncertainty there is refuge to be found in the work of intellectual titans like Samir Amin. After the sad news of his passing in August 2018 in Paris, aged 86, we began thinking about how best to explore the enduring relevance of his analysis and concepts to make sense of contemporary crises. As we face the prospects of devastating long-term social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Amin’s work inspires thinking that combines rigorous research with a commitment to radical change. In one of his latest writings, Amin (2019a, 10) implores that the ‘challenge today is […] not to attempt moving out of the crisis of capitalism, but to start moving out of capitalism in crisis’. Indeed, from the cyclical depressions through history to Covid-19 induced lockdowns throughout the world, capitalism has been in incessant crises. Amin’s ability to weave together thorough analysis of the polarising effects of capitalism with concrete political projects for an international radical left makes his work particularly relevant in our quest to understand capitalism, its particularities across the world, and oppositions to it. There is a younger generation of scholars that is particularly hungry for Amin’s perspectives, one that came of age in a time when the universities have been thoroughly marketised and moulded by neoliberal processes, and where intellectual production and debates are not necessarily embedded within social struggles. The pertinence and analytical heft of Amin’s critique of capitalism may be particularly important in the contemporary period marked by the interconnected crises related to Covid-19, Black Lives Matter, the climate emergency, and looming debt crises across the periphery. In the years ahead, confronting these multiple and intertwined crises will require the kind of commitment to combining research with political engagement that Amin demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalReview of African Political Economy
Issue number167
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2021


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