It is well known that modernity (historical, philosophical, political, economic and cultural) generates its principles from a threefold wish for unity. The Enlightenment ideals on which it is founded define modernity in terms of rationalization, as an ‘advance’ in cognitive and instrumental reason. This produces particular categories and systems through which historical development and social evolution are conceptualized, based on the notion of progress as the guideline of a universalist project. It also assumes the objective consciousness of an absolute meta-subject. The principles of modernity generate specific representations of society by means of bureaucratic and technological networks which incorporate institutional practices into an overall scheme. The spread of a ‘civilizing’ modernity is linked to a model of industrial progress and in this way it is part and parcel of the expansion of multinational capitalism and its logic of the marketplace, centred on the metropolis and its control of economic exchanges.