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By Paul Bowles

Capitalism has proved itself to be the main enduring financial system of our time. This booklet explores no matter if capitalism will destroy us or free up us. appears on the ways to and debates approximately capitalism as either an summary concept and as a historic processPresents the arguments of a few of the best proponents of capitalism and a few of its best rivals, giving scholars the chance to attract their very own conclusionsAnalyses how particular types of particular types of nationwide capitalism after 1945 addressed the issues glaring in inter-war capitalismExamines the worldwide unfold and notion of capitalism because the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and

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Should alert the reader to the fact that this is not an uncontested proposition. Before analysing further the historical process, in Chapters 2 and 3 I will consider capitalism at the abstract and normative levels: just what does an economic and social system based on the institutions of private property, the market and the profit motive mean for us? Further reading For those interested in a short overview of the history of capitalism and some of the debates surrounding it, Michel Beaud’s, A History of Capitalism 1500–2000, New York: Monthly Review Press, fifth edition, 2001 is a brilliant starting point.

He argues that all political systems which do not recognize citizens as equals lack the legitimacy which will enable them to endure. Eventually, they will be replaced by a political system that duly accords equality to all – and representative democracy with equal rights for all citizens is the only system that can provide this in the modern world. For Fukuyama, this is the lesson of the past 200 years as the scope of political liberty has, as a long-run trend, increased around the world. Indeed, there has been a long-run upward trend in the proportion of the world’s population living in democratic societies.

In the Wealth of Nations he argued that no society could be happy if the bulk of the population did not share in its prosperity, and he viewed business people as frequently seeking to take advantage of consumers. Ironically, given his views on free trade and taxes, he ended his life working for the Board of Customs in Edinburgh. qxd 23/6/06 5:49 PM Page 25 ··· CAPITALISM AS A SYSTEM: “NATURAL” AND “FREE” ··· Adam Smith: markets are natural for humans . . but not for dogs The act of market exchange was, for Smith, “natural” in the sense that it was based upon a propensity which was found in all humans and, more strongly, only in humans.

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