U.S. Capitalist Development since 1776: Of, By, and for Which People?

By Douglas Dowd | Go to book overview

The crisis in which we now move shows itself first as a crisis of economic and political life; its root, however, is moral. A historical turning point is suggested by the metaphor of crisis, the resolution of which will take us closer to the realization or to the destruction of our species' needs and possibilities. The resolution is unlikely to be favorable within a social framework that encourages a warped individualism and a crass materialism. That there are alternative possibilities, none easy to achieve, goes without saying. In the concluding chapter some of these will be examined.


Reading Suggestions

For two books that seek to explain the ways and means of capitalism, in overlapping but contrasting analyses, see Samuel Bowles and Richard Edwards , Understanding Capitalism ( New York: Harper & Row, 1985), and Robert L. Heilbroner, The Nature and Logic of Capitalism ( New York: Norton, 1985). R.H. Tawney has already been noted for some of his books. He is deservedly among the most influential and respected historians of the rise of capitalism (and in The Acquisitive Society, cited earlier, for his critique of it). He has also provided a subtle and profound analysis of the manner in which, as capitalism began to emerge, religious thought changed its meaning, though not always its words, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries--a process that has also occurred with our nonreligious terms more recently. See his 175-page introduction to Thomas Wilson, A Discourse Upon Usury ( London: Bell, 1925), itself the work of a sixteenth-century divine. E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class* ( New York: Vintage, 1966) has written that history "from the bottom up," and in doing so has inspired the work of a new generation of historians. A closely reasoned historical analysis of capitalism by a leading Marxist is Maurice Dobb, Studies in the Development of Capitalism* ( London: Routledge, 1946). The difficulties and violence associated with economic development in the capitalist era have been studied carefully by Barrington Moore Jr., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy* ( Boston: Beacon Press, 1966). Chapters on the English Civil War of the seventeenth century, the French Revolution, and our own Civil War are especially insightful. J.L. and Barbara Hammond wrote many books on the consequences of evolving industrial capitalism in Britain, all of them combining penetrating analysis with great detail, all of them heartbreaking in what they show happened

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U.S. Capitalist Development since 1776: Of, By, and for Which People?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures and Tables xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Notes xxv
  • Acknowledgments xxvii
  • 1 - Economics and Economies, Past and Present 1
  • Reading Suggestions 39
  • 2 - Capitalism 55
  • A Summing Up 79
  • Notes 81
  • 3 - Business as a System of Power 93
  • Reading Suggestion 123
  • 4 - Growth and Development, Prosperity and Depression 137
  • Reading Suggestions 187
  • 5 - Income, Wealth, and Power 209
  • Reading Suggestions 252
  • 6 - Nature and Nurture; Country and City; Waste and Destruction 269
  • Reading Suggestions 321
  • 7 - World Economy and Imperialism 337
  • Reading Suggestions 400
  • Notes 404
  • 8 - The State 419
  • Reading Suggestions 472
  • 9 - Needs and Possibilities 493
  • Reading Suggestion 530
  • Name Index 543
  • Subject Index 549
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