“Equality is a constantly recurring need, like hunger.” Alluding to Tocqueville, with these words the author ends this personal, caustic pamphlet about the adventures of capitalism, once an exclusively Western phenomenon and now widespread throughout the world. After having emerged victorious from the great wars and upheavals of the 20th century, capitalism today displays its darker side. Just like the Hydra – the mythological monster whose heads, cut off by Hercules, were capable of regenerating themselves twofold – capitalism reappears throughout history, prevailing over every revolution and breeding novel, increasingly sophisticated forms of slavery. This bitter reflection takes its cue from the needs of discarded humanity and decries historical trends that seem to leave no room for that longing for equality expressed by early Christianity and modern Communism.
Luciano Canfora is professor emeritus at the University of Bari.