Capitalism stands unrivalled as the economic system of our times. Since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the world has become a stage for capital, and yet despite this dominance, capitalism is still not well-understood.
This is a guide to thinking about capitalism, both as an ideology and as an economic system. It asks: what are the central, unchanging features of capitalism? How does capitalism vary from place to place and over time? Does capitalism improve our lives? Is capitalism a system which is 'natural' and 'free'? Or is it unjust and unstable? And what about today's global capitalism? Answers to these questions and many more are sought through an analysis the life of this world-shaping idea and of the writings of leading thinkers such as Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, Francis Fukuyama, John Maynard Keynes and Karl Marx. The book concludes by arguing that the advocates of global capitalism have erred and that, without change, we are heading for an impoverished future.
Paul Bowlesis a graduate of the London School of Economics and is currently affiliated with universities in China, Mexicoand Canada. He has had a long-standing interest in capitalism and its evolution, recently doing research on the issue of "globalisation". He has published widely on both globalisation and East Asian development and has also been involved in a project looking at economic reform in China.
Chapter One How To Think About Capitalism
Chapter Two Capitalism as a System: Natural and Free
Chapter Three Capitalism as a System: Unjust and Unstable
Chapter Four Empire and Crises 1870-1945
Chapter Five Post-1945 Capitalism:Variations Across Countries
Chapter Six Post-1945 Capitalism:Variations Over Time
Chapter Seven Global Capitalism