This dissertation provides three examples of how considering interactions across transport modes as well as land use systems is important for addressing the biggest challenges in sustainable development, particularly climate change and growing inequality.
In the first essay, I explore path dependency in urban form for U. cities built around rail transit prior to the automobile.
It also calls for Marxists to look at non-European societies and do more significant comparative work before making big claims about history.
The strongest chapters are the ones dealing with conceptions of "free" and "unfree" labor in the modern political economy as well as ones critiquing a lack of historiography in Marxist circles around antiquity and around non-European developmental modes.
This work demonstrates one way in which shared modes impact pre-existing public transit systems, which is particularly important as these systems are expanding and operating outside of traditional public agencies.
The way these modes work together determines the overall quality of the transport network.I have to say that this book is the single most inspiring piece of historical materialist theory that I have ever read since reading Marx's own "18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte." Banaji reinvigorates historical materialist theory by injecting it with the most thorough understanding of global history that I have seen.He analyzes China, India, Russia, Byzantium, medieval Europe, and even the cultural influences and biases that Marx and many of his first Western followers held.To my mind, this is reading Hegelian and German idealist assumptions about what a teleology is back into the entirety of history.This means that Banaji seems to reject a clear emergence point for capitalism and a developmental logic, partly because of Marx's "Here be Dragons" elements of Asiatic production. This is an important book, and while not necessarily easy for lay-readers in either medieval economic history or inter-Marxist debates, it is a vital read.I do think, however, that Banaji focuses intensely on moods of production but is deliberately somewhat loose with what counts as capitalism outright, and his criterion seemed a little vaguer than that of Woods/Brenner.Parts of this book seem clearly targeted at the Maoist argument that "survivals of pre-capitalist relations of production" mean that the prime revolutionary class is the peasantry against the assertions of earlier Stalinists and other forms of communism about the working class.This is significant as it draws out the horizon of the origins out beyond England.However, where I disagree with Banaji is that wage-relationships and focus on reinvestment did NOT characterize Mediterranean interface of Catholic Christendom, Byzantium and the Dar al-Islam.They demonstrate the importance of reintegrating theory with history and of bringing history back into historical materialism.While I do not always agree with Banaji, particularly of his dismissal of the English agrarian capital thesis and the Brenner/Woods reading as an "orthodoxy," his discussions of Egypt, the late medieval Islamic trade development, the problems with the "Asiatic modes of production" and "tributary mode of production" as well as historical blind spots in general Marxist, and, ironically given their third world focus, specifically Maoist misreadings of past.