Can Archaeology Slow Down Fast Capitalism?

Author(s): Randall McGuire

Year: 2016


The great intellectual myth of the end of the 20th century was that the 21st century dawned in a world of "posts"; post industrial, post colonial and most importantly post capitalist. The sociologist Ben Agger has argued that we do not live in a post capitalist world but rather in a world of hyped up Capitalism or Fast Capitalism. More recently, the economist Thomas Piketty has redirected economic research back to the study of wealth and Capital. his work sustains Karl Marx's fundamental observation that the processes of Capitalism tend to increase inequalities in wealth. In this paper, I build on my earlier arguments for a praxis of archaeology to challenge the status-quot and to slow down down Fast Capitalism. This reflection is pessimistic of grand schemes to change the world but suggests that we can impede just a little the rush of Fast Capitalism. We can do this both in the practice of archaeology and in the larger world. The contradictions of Fast Capitalism shapes the practice of archaeology both in CRM and in the academy. We can also use archaeology to challenge the ideological lies that support, naturalize and justify the growing inequalities in wealth.

Cite this Record

Can Archaeology Slow Down Fast Capitalism?. Randall McGuire. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403220)