The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty

The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty

The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty

The Capitalist Revolution: Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty

Excerpt

Capitalism is widely viewed as a conservative force in the contemporary world. Consequently, the phrase "capitalist revolution" in the title of this book may appear odd to some. Like many widely held views, the notion of capitalism as conservative is misleading. On the contrary, from its inception capitalism has been a force of cataclysmic transformation in one country after another. Capitalism has radically changed every material, social, political, and cultural facet of the societies it has touched, and it continues to do so. Understanding this revolutionary impact of capitalism on modern society is a formidable and important intellectual task.

The purpose of this book is to draw the outline of a theory concerning the relation between capitalism and society in the modern world. Each chapter (with the exception of the first and the last, which deal, respectively, with matters of definition and with summary reflections) contains various propositions which I put forth on the basis of the empirical evidence cited. These propositions are hypotheses, in the strict sense in which this term has been used within the social sciences. That is, these propositions are not of a philosophical, ethical, or any other a priori sort. As hypotheses within a social-science framework, they are subject to empirical testing and thus to falsification. I expect that they will be challenged, in part or as a whole; I hope that such challenges, like the propositions themselves, will be grounded in empirical evidence.

As is spelled out in more detail in the first chapter, an empirically . . .

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