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

By Douglas Dowd | Go to book overview

Reading Suggestion

One good way to begin further reading in this area is Thurman Arnold, The Folklore of Capitalism ( Garden City, N.Y: Blue Ribbon Books, 1941), a thorough and skeptical study of the leading ideas and institutions of U.S. capitalism. Arnold had reason for his skepticism: At one time head of the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department (appointed by FDR), he was "booted upstairs" and out for taking those ideas and institutions too seriously, especially the ones lauding the free market. A. A. Berle (along with Gardiner Means) was noted earlier as having set forth a disturbing thesis (the divorce of ownership from control) in The Modern Corporation and Private Property.

Later, Berle took another potentially explosive issue, indicated by its title: Power Without Property ( New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1959), and, characteristically, let it slide out of sight. John Kenneth Galbraith is a witting and witty troublemaker, and though by no means a radical, his troublesomeness, and perhaps even more his graceful writing style, have placed him beyond the pale for most of the economics profession--despite that in the following seven books of his, he, like Berle, uses a fine mind to underscore problematic areas in the socioeconomy, but moves from those troubles, somehow, always to a comforting set of conclusions (and then in his next book, undermines those conclusions and repeats the process). See his American Capitalism* ( 1956), The Affluent Society* ( 1958), and The New Industrial State* ( 1967) ( Boston: Houghton Mifflin).

Much has been said about the State and big business, in the various dimensions of that relationship. Some books to help follow up: Walter Adams and Horace M. Gray, Monopoly in America: The Government as Promoter ( New York: Macmillan, 1955), and, more recently and somewhat broader in scope, Walter Adams and James W. Brock, The Bigness Complex: Industry, Labor, and Government in the American Economy ( New York: Pantheon, 1986). Early regulative processes, containing important hints of what the future would hold, are examined by Gabriel Kolko, Railroads and Regulation 1877-1916 ( Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1965) and, more broadly by far, The Triumph of Conservatism ( New York: Free Press, 1963).

A valuable and classic study of the area is Clair Wilcox and William G. Shepherd, Public Policies Toward Business ( Homewood, Ill.:

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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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