ORIENTAL DESPOTISM: A Comparative Study of Total Power. By KARL A. WITT- . FOGEL. xix If so, Wittfogel’s “Oriental Despotism” will not find many compe-. Review: “Oriental Despotism, A Comparative Study of Total Power.” By Karl A. Wittfogel. Yale University Press, New Haven, , $ Download Citation on ResearchGate | Karl August Wittfogel – Oriental Despotism | Wittfogel is best known for his monumental work Oriental Despotism: A.

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It is no longer a specific skin color but a specific Asiatic institution, and the way of life stemming therefrom, which imperils Western civilization. Karl Wittfogel in the American Communist newspaper. They resurfaced aroundbut by wtitfogel Wittfogel was of course a non-person in communist eyes. He came to believe that the state-owned economies of the Soviet bloc inevitably led to despotic governments even more oppressive than those of “traditional Asia” and that those regimes were the greatest threat to the future of all mankind.

The Daily Worker, A Comparative Study of Total Power, first published in Starting from a Marxist analysis of the ideas of Max Weber on China and India’s “hydraulic-bureaucratic official-state” and building on Marx’s sceptical view of the Asiatic Mode of ProductionWittfogel came up with an analysis of Oriental despotism which emphasized the role of irrigation works, the bureaucratic structures needed to maintain them and the impact that these had on society, coining the term ” hydraulic empire ” to describe the system.

And even though industrialization has brought about undeniable economic alterations, the terrorist social forms of control remain the same and tend to engulf the whole world.


Oriental Despotism | work by Wittfogel |

Wittfogel is best known for his monumental work Oriental Despotism: The ancient world In his seminal book Oriental Despotismhistorian and political scientist Karl Wittfogel presented a general theory of the development of ancient civilizations.

Irrigation and flood control, as well as roads, defense systems, palaces and tombs, are government enterprises demanding commandeered labor. Wittfogel’s belief in the Soviet Union was destroyed with the Molotov—Ribbentrop Pactand he began to hate the totalitarian, “asiatic” nature of Soviet and Chinese Communism from Lenin to Mao.

Bahro’s later ecological ideas, recounted in From Red to Green and elsewhere were likewise inspired by Wittfogel’s geographical determinism. He left Germany for England and then the United States. American Socialistvol.

Views Read Edit View history. At a Leningrad conference inall those ideas of an “asiatic” “mode of production” were shot down and buried by the Stalinist majority.

German-American playwrighthistorianand sinologist. She emigrated to the Soviet Union and worked there among other things?

Read More systematic organization theory In history of the organization of work: Ulrich Menzel’s excellent online presentation in the Personenlexikon Internationale Beziehungen virtuell. Hedda Korschwho was active in the school reform movement.

Karl August Wittfogel

In a lriental notice to a reprint of his essay on Political Geography, Wittfogel says he came out much stronger against the Nazis than the KPD and Komintern line wanted. Then East German dissident Rudolf Bahro later said that his Alternative in Eastern Europe was based on ideas of Wittfogel, but because of the latter’s later anti-communism, Wittfogel could not be mentioned by name.

Rote Soldaten had been scheduled for a second season of the theatre.


And the agro-managerial despot does indeed possess such means. A Comparative Study of Total Powerfirst published in The despotims sorry mess was wittvogel in the s as the Brecht -Lukacs debate. Topics wittfogel oriental despotism total power totalitarianism. In the early s, Wittfogel wrote a number of communist, but also somewhat expressionistic, plays: The Maoist Jan Myrdal in accused Wittfogel, Kurt Sauerland and George Lukacswho were in favour of “culture” and an “elitist” aesthetics in the so-called “Mehring debate”, to have turned Marxism into a theology and thus brought Hitler to power.

Review of Wittfogel, by Paul Mattick

From he studied sinology in Leipzig. No one, and least of all a Marxist, will deny that irrigation may be an important and, under certain circumstances, the most important factor in determining the mode of production and the character of political control. They were married from other sources say to He believed that such civilizations—although neither all in the Orient nor characteristic of all Oriental societies—were quite different from those of the West. After expelling a strong radical group in the autumn ofthe KPD was basically a sect, until a majority of USPD delegates decided to join it at their party convention in October He studied philosophy, history, sociology, geography at Leipzig University and also in Munich, Berlin and Rostock and in again in Berlin.

Jan Myrdal also called Wittfogel “parteikonformer