Economic Systems & Structures

    David Harvey
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    In this title, radical sociologist David Harvey explains how capitalism came to dominate the world, why it resulted in the current financial crisis - and why it's time for a change. For three centuries the capitalist system has shaped western society, informed its rulers, and conditioned the lives of its people. Has the time come to move beyond it? Using his unrivalled knowledge of the subject, Harvey lays bare the follies of the international financial system, looking at the nature of capitalism, how it works and why sometimes it doesn't. He examines the vast flows of money that surge round the world in daily volumes well in excess of the sum of all its economies. He looks at the cycles of boom and bust in the world's housing and stock markets and shows that periodic episodes of meltdown are not only inevitable in the capitalist system but essential to its survival. "The Enigma of Capitalism" is a timely call-to-arms for the end of the capitalism, and makes a compelling case for a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that could be responsible, just and humane.
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    In "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism" one of today's most iconoclastic thinkers destroys the biggest myths about the world we live in. There's no such thing as a 'free' market. Globalization isn't making the world richer. We don't live in a digital world - the washing machine has changed lives more than the internet. Poor countries are more entrepreneurial than rich ones. Higher paid managers don't produce better results. This galvanizing, fact-packed book about money, equality, freedom and greed proves that the free market isn't just bad for people - it's an inefficient way of running economies too. Here Chang lays out the alternatives, and shows there's a better way.
    James Fulcher
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    What is capitalism? Is capitalism the same everywhere? Is there an alternative? The word 'capitalism' is one that is heard and used frequently, but what is capitalism really all about, and what does it mean? This Very Short Introduction addresses questions such as 'what is capital?' before discussing the history and development of capitalism through several detailed case studies, ranging from the tulipomania of 17th century Holland, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and in this new edition, the impact of the global financial crisis that started in 2007-8. James Fulcher looks at the different forms that capitalism takes in Britain, Japan, Sweden, and the United States, and explores whether capitalism has escaped the nation-state by going global. It ends by asking whether there is an alternative to capitalism, discussing socialism, communal and cooperative experiments, and the alternatives proposed by environmentalists. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
    Ron Roberts
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    Psychology and Capitalism is a critical and accessible account of the ideological and material role of psychology in supporting capitalist enterprise and holding individuals entirely responsible for their fate through the promotion of individualism.
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    You thought capitalism was permanent? Think again. David Harvey unravels the contradictions at the heart of capitalism - its drive, for example, to accumulate capital beyond the means of investing it, its imperative to use the cheapest methods of production that leads to consumers with no means of consumption, and its compulsion to exploit nature to the point of extinction. These are the tensions which underpin the persistence of mass unemployment, the downward spirals of Europe and Japan, and the unstable lurches forward of China and India. Not that the contradictions of capital are all bad: they can lead to the innovations that make capitalism resilient and, it seems, permanent. Yet appearances can deceive: while many of capital's contradictions can be managed, others will be fatal to our society. This new book is both an incisive guide to the world around us and a manifesto for change.
    Jurgen Kocka
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    In this book, one of the world's most renowned historians provides a concise and comprehensive history of capitalism within a global perspective from its medieval origins to the 2008 financial crisis and beyond. From early commercial capitalism in the Arab world, China, and Europe, to nineteenth- and twentieth-century industrialization, to today's globalized financial capitalism, Jurgen Kocka offers an unmatched account of capitalism, one that weighs its great achievements against its great costs, crises, and failures. Based on intensive research, the book puts the rise of capitalist economies in social, political, and cultural context, and shows how their current problems and foreseeable future are connected to a long history. Sweeping in scope, the book describes how capitalist expansion was connected to colonialism; how industrialism brought unprecedented innovation, growth, and prosperity but also increasing inequality; and how managerialism, financialization, and globalization later changed the face of capitalism. The book also addresses the idea of capitalism in the work of thinkers such as Marx, Weber, and Schumpeter, and chronicles how criticism of capitalism is as old as capitalism itself, fed by its persistent contradictions and recurrent emergencies. Authoritative and accessible, Capitalism is an enlightening account of a force that has shaped the modern world like few others.
    Wolfgang Streeck
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    In How Will Capitalism End? the acclaimed analyst of contemporary politics and economics Wolfgang Streeck argues that capitalism is now in a critical condition. Growth is giving way to secular stagnation; inequality is leading to instability; and confidence in the capitalist money economy has all but evaporated. Capitalism's shotgun marriage with democracy since 1945 is breaking up as the regulatory institutions restraining its advance have collapsed, and after the final victory of capitalism over its enemies no political agency capable of rebuilding them is in sight. The capitalist system is stricken with at least five worsening disorders for which no cure is at hand: declining growth, oligarchy, starvation of the public sphere, corruption and international anarchy. In this arresting book Wolfgang Streeck asks if we are witnessing a long and painful period of cumulative decay: of intensifying frictions, of fragility and uncertainty, and of a steady succession of 'normal accidents'.
    Arun Sundararajan
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    Sharing isn't new. Giving someone a ride, having a guest in your spare room, running errands for someone, participating in a supper club -- these are not revolutionary concepts. What is new, in the "sharing economy," is that you are not helping a friend for free; you are providing these services to a stranger for money. In this book, Arun Sundararajan, an expert on the sharing economy, explains the transition to what he describes as "crowd-based capitalism" -- a new way of organizing economic activity that may supplant the traditional corporate-centered model. As peer-to-peer commercial exchange blurs the lines between the personal and the professional, how will the economy, government regulation, what it means to have a job, and our social fabric be affected? Drawing on extensive research and numerous real-world examples -- including Airbnb, Lyft, Uber, Etsy, TaskRabbit, France's BlaBlaCar, China's Didi Kuaidi, and India's Ola, Sundararajan explains the basics of crowd-based capitalism. He describes the intriguing mix of "gift" and "market" in its transactions, demystifies emerging blockchain technologies, and clarifies the dizzying array of emerging on-demand platforms. He considers how this new paradigm changes economic growth and the future of work. Will we live in a world of empowered entrepreneurs who enjoy professional flexibility and independence? Or will we become disenfranchised digital laborers scurrying between platforms in search of the next wedge of piecework? Sundararajan highlights the important policy choices and suggests possible new directions for self-regulatory organizations, labor law, and funding our social safety net.
    Jonathan Portes
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    Controversial and unavoidable, it shapes our society and our lives - but what really is capitalism? Does it mean greed is good? Are inequality and poverty its inevitable consequences? Can economic growth continue forever or are constant cycles of boom and bust a foregone conclusion? Indeed is capitalism in a fatal crisis - and what, if any, are the alternatives? From capitalism's history, core theories and key institutions to its current-day political power and social impact, this book explains everything you need to understand the world's dominant economic system. Jonathan Portes demystifes the fundamental concepts of capital, creative destruction, the market and the invisible hand; dissects the rival ideologies of socialism, liberalism and Keynesianism; predicts what capitalism means for immigration, the environment and the future of work; and much more - all in 50 concise and authoritative essays. Here is the essential one-volume guide to capitalism: its strengths and weaknesses, past and future - a future that will affect us all.
    Robert Reich
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    Do you recall a time when the income of a single schoolteacher or baker or salesman or mechanic was enough to buy a home, have two cars, and raise a family? Robert Reich does - in the 1950s his father sold clothes to factory workers and the family earnt enough to live comfortably. Today, this middle class is rapidly shrinking: American income inequality and wealth disparity is the greatest it's been in eighty years. As Reich, who served in three US administrations, shows, the threat to capitalism is no longer communism or fascism but a steady undermining of the trust modern societies need for growth and stability. With an exclusive chapter for Icon's edition, Saving Capitalism is passionate yet practical, sweeping yet exactingly argued, a revelatory indictment of the economic status quo and an empowering call to action.
    Wolfgang Streeck
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    The financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 still has the world on tenterhooks. The gravity of the situation is matched by a general paucity of understanding about what is happening and how it started. In this book, based on his 2012 Adorno Lectures given in Frankfurt, Wolfgang Streeck places the crisis in the context of the long neoliberal transformation of postwar capitalism that began in the 1970s. He analyses the subsequent tensions and conflicts involving states, governments, voters and capitalist interests, as expressed in inflation, public debt, and rising private indebtedness. Streeck traces the transformation of the tax state into a debt state, and from there into the consolidation state of today. At the centre of the analysis is the changing relationship between capitalism and democracy, in Europe and elsewhere, and the advancing immunization of the former against the latter. In this new edition, Streeck has added a substantial postface on the reception of the book and the unfolding of the crisis in the Eurozone since 2014.
    Tom Wainwright
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    Everything drug cartels do to survive and prosper they've learnt from big business - brand value and franchising from McDonald's, supply chain management from Walmart, diversification from Coca-Cola. Whether it's human resourcing, R&D, corporate social responsibility, off-shoring, problems with e-commerce or troublesome changes in legislation, the drug lords face the same strategic concerns companies like Ryanair or Apple. So when the drug cartels start to think like big business, the only way to understand them is using economics. In Narconomics, Tom Wainwright meets everyone from coca farmers in secret Andean locations, deluded heads of state in presidential palaces, journalists with a price on their head, gang leaders who run their empires from dangerous prisons and teenage hitmen on city streets - all in search of the economic truth.
    Adam Arvidsson
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    A more ethical economic system is now possible, one that rectifies the crisis spots of our current downturn while balancing the injustices of extreme poverty and wealth. Adam Arvidsson and Nicolai Peitersen, a scholar and an entrepreneur, outline the shape such an economy might take, identifying its origins in innovations already existent in our production, valuation, and distribution systems. Much like nineteenth-century entrepreneurs, philosophers, bankers, artisans, and social organizers who planned a course for modern capitalism that was more economically efficient and ethically desirable, we now have a chance to construct new instruments, institutions, and infrastructure to reverse the trajectory of a quickly deteriorating economic environment. Considering a multitude of emerging phenomena, Arvidsson and Peitersen show wealth creation can be the result of a new kind of social production, and the motivation of continuous capital accumulation can exist in tandem with a new desire to maximize our social impact. Arvidsson and Peitersen argue that financial markets could become a central arena in which diverse ethical concerns are integrated into tangible economic valuations. They suggest that such a common standard has already emerged and that this process is linked to the spread of social media, making it possible to capture the sentiment of value to most people. They ultimately recommend how to build upon these developments to initiate a radical democratization of economic systems and the value decisions they generate.
    Derek Wall
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    'There is no alternative' has been the unofficial mantra of the neoliberal order since its utterance by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. However, there is an alternative to our crisis-ridden, austerity-inflicted world - and not just one alternative, but many. Challenging the arguments for markets, mainstream economics and capitalism from Adam Smith onwards, Economics After Capitalism provides a step-by-step guide to various writers, movements and schools of thought, critical of neoliberal globalisation. These range from Keynesian-inspired reformists such as Geroge Soros and Joseph Stiglitz, critics of inequality like Thomas Piketty and Amaitya Sen, to more radical voices including Naomi Klein, Marxists such as David Harvey, anarchists, and autonomists including Toni Negri and Michael Hardt. By providing a clear and accessible guide to the economics of anti-capitalism, Derek Wall successfully demonstrates that an open source eco-socialist alternative to rampant climate change, elite rule and financial chaos is not just necessary, but possible.
    Ernesto Screpanti
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    In this provocative study, economist Ernesto Screpanti argues that imperialism far from disappearing or mutating into a benign globalization has in fact entered a new phase, which he terms global imperialism. This is a phase defined by multinational firms cut loose from the nation-state framework and free to chase profits over the entire surface of the globe. No longer dependent on nation-states for building a political consensus that accommodates capital accumulation, these firms seek to bend governments to their will and destroy barriers to the free movement of capital. And while military force continues to play an important role in imperial strategy, it is the discipline of the global market that keeps workers in check by pitting them against each other no matter what their national origin. This is a world in which the so-called labor aristocracies of the rich nations are demolished, the power of states to enforce checks on capital is sapped, and global firms are free to pursue their monomaniacal quest for profits unfettered by national allegiance. Screpanti delves into the inner workings of global imperialism, explaining how it is different from past forms of imperialism, how the global distribution of wages is changing, and why multinational firms have strained to break free of national markets. He sees global imperialism as a developing process, one with no certain outcome. But one thing is clear: when economic crises become opportunities to discipline workers, and when economic policies are imposed through increasingly authoritarian measures, the vision of a democratic and humane world is what is ultimately at stake."
    John Hilary
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    Capitalist growth is widely heralded as the only answer to the crisis still sweeping the global economy. Yet the era of corporate globalisation has been defined by unprecedented levels of inequality and environmental degradation. A return to capitalist growth threatens to exacerbate these problems, not solve them. In The Poverty of Capitalism, John Hilary reveals the true face of transnational capital in its insatiable drive for expansion and accumulation. He exposes the myth of 'corporate social responsibility' (CSR), and highlights key areas of conflict over natural resources, labour rights and food sovereignty. Hilary also describes the growing popular resistance to corporate power, as well as the new social movements seeking to develop alternatives to capitalism itself. This book will be essential reading for all those concerned with global justice, human rights and equity in the world order.
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    Winner of the first Paul A. Baran-Paul M. Sweezy Memorial Award for an original monograph concerned with the political economy of imperialism, John Smith's Imperialism in the TwentyFirst Century is a seminal examination of the relationship between the core capitalist countries and the rest of the world in the age of neoliberal globalization.Deploying a sophisticated Marxist methodology, Smith begins by tracing the production of certain iconic commodities-the Tshirt, the cup of coffee, and the iPhone-and demonstrates how these generate enormous outflows of money from the countries of the Global South to transnational corporations headquartered in the core capitalist nations of the Global North. From there, Smith draws on his empirical findings to powerfully theorize the current shape of imperialism. He argues that the core capitalist countries need no longer rely on military force and colonialism (although these still occur) but increasingly are able to extract profits from workers in the Global South through market mechanisms and, by aggressively favoring places with lower wages, the phenomenon of labor arbitrage. Meticulously researched and forcefully argued, Imperialism in the TwentyFirst Century is a major contribution to the theorization and critique of global capitalism.
    Ralph Buckle
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    During 2013-14, the IEA ran a competition to find the best blueprint for Britain outside the EU, with the objective of securing a free and prosperous economy should it choose to leave. The IEA does not have a position on whether Britain should leave the EU. However, it is part of their educational mission to promote a wider understanding of the importance of a free economy and the institutions that are necessary for a free economy. They therefore regarded it as important to promote debate on the best way to achieve this in the event of the British people choosing to leave the EU: that was the main purpose of the competition. To provide a longer-lasting contribution to this debate, the IEA decided to publish this monograph examining the various options using, in the main, entries to the British Exit ('Brexit') competition. There was a wide range of possible approaches suggested by entrants to that competition.Some proposed that Britain should promote free trade and openness through the unilateral removal of trade and other barriers to economic activity; others proposed maintaining formal relationships with European countries through the European Free Trade Association and/or the European Economic Area; still other entrants took the view that Britain should seek to form economic and political alliances and partnerships with countries outside Europe - for example with the Commonwealth or the --Anglosphere - normally with a view to that being a gateway to free trade with as much of the world as would be willing. The winner was Foreign Office diplomat Iain Mansfield, who received most of the publicity at the end of the competition. However, in understanding how Britain can be free and prosperous in the event that it leaves the EU, it is worthwhile considering a range of other approaches to 'Brexit'. It is only through determining the best destiny for Britain outside the EU that the correct decision will be taken about whether to leave the EU and, if so, how. This book therefore brings together Iain Mansfield's submission with edited versions of two other entries.One of those, by Robert Oulds, proposes that the UK remains a member of the European Economic Area and rejoins the European Free Trade Association; another, by Ralph Buckle and Tim Hewish, proposes that Britain pursues free trade through the route of the Commonwealth and the Anglosphere. The final contribution, by John Hulsman, was not an entry to the competition but re-examines an approach to promoting free trade first proposed in his IEA monograph published in 2001, The World Turned Rightside Up. This involved the development of a global free-trade association. Overall, this book is an important contribution to the debate about how Britain should leave the EU, should it choose to do so. It distils clearly the different options and the advantages and disadvantages of alternative approaches with reference to the objective of promoting a free and prosperous economy. The authors have different views about how to achieve the same objective. It is hoped that, by presenting those different views in this volume, the debate will move beyond 'Britain - in or out?' to a debate about something just as important: 'If Britain should leave, how should it leave?'
    Geoff Mulgan
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    The recent economic crisis was a dramatic reminder that capitalism can both produce and destroy. It's a system that by its very nature encourages predators and creators, locusts and bees. But, as Geoff Mulgan argues in this compelling, imaginative, and important book, the economic crisis also presents a historic opportunity to choose a radically different future for capitalism, one that maximizes its creative power and minimizes its destructive force. In an engaging and wide-ranging argument, Mulgan digs into the history of capitalism across the world to show its animating ideas, its utopias and dystopias, as well as its contradictions and possibilities. Drawing on a subtle framework for understanding systemic change, he shows how new political settlements reshaped capitalism in the past and are likely to do so in the future. By reconnecting value to real-life ideas of growth, he argues, efficiency and entrepreneurship can be harnessed to promote better lives and relationships rather than just a growth in the quantity of material consumption. Healthcare, education, and green industries are already becoming dominant sectors in the wealthier economies, and the fields of social innovation, enterprise, and investment are rapidly moving into the mainstream--all indicators of how capital could be made more of a servant and less a master. This is a book for anyone who wonders where capitalism might be heading next--and who wants to help make sure that its future avoids the mistakes of the past. This edition of The Locust and the Bee includes a new afterword in which the author lays out some of the key challenges facing capitalism in the twenty-first century.
    Harry Harootunian
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    In Marx After Marx, Harry Harootunian questions the claims of Western Marxism and its presumption of the final completion of capitalism. If this shift in Marxism reflected the recognition that the expected revolutions were not forthcoming in the years before World War II, its Cold War afterlife helped to both unify the West in its struggle with the Soviet Union and bolster the belief that capitalism remained dominant in the contest over progress. This book deprovincializes Marx and the West's cultural turn by returning to the theorist's earlier explanations of capital's origins and development, which followed a trajectory beyond Euro-America to Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Marx's expansive view shows how local circumstances, time, and culture intervened to reshape capital's system of production in these regions. His outline of a diversified global capitalism was much more robust than was his sketch of the English experience in Capital and helps explain the disparate routes that evolved during the twentieth century. Engaging with the texts of Lenin, Luxemburg, Gramsci, and other pivotal theorists, Harootunian strips contemporary Marxism of its cultural preoccupation by reasserting the deep relevance of history.
    Stuart Kirsch
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    Corporations are among the most powerful institutions of our time, but they are also responsible for a wide range of harmful social and environmental impacts. Consequently, political movements and nongovernmental organizations increasingly contest the risks that corporations pose to people and nature. Mining Capitalism examines the strategies through which corporations manage their relationships with these critics and adversaries. By focusing on the conflict over the Ok Tedi copper and gold mine in Papua New Guinea, Stuart Kirsch tells the story of a slow-moving environmental disaster and the international network of indigenous peoples, advocacy groups, and lawyers that sought to protect local rivers and rain forests. Along the way, he analyzes how corporations promote their interests by manipulating science and invoking the discourses of sustainability and social responsibility. Based on two decades of anthropological research, this book is comparative in scope, showing readers how similar dynamics operate in other industries around the world.
    Michael Perelman
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    Mainstream, or more formally, neoclassical, economics claims to be a science. But as Michael Perelman makes clear in his latest book, nothing could be further from the truth. While a science must be rooted in material reality, mainstream economics ignores or distorts the most fundamental aspect of this reality: that the vast majority of people must, out of necessity, labor on behalf of others, transformed into nothing but a means to the end of maximum profits for their employers. The nature of the work we do and the conditions under which we do it profoundly shape our lives. And yet, both of these factors are peripheral to mainstream economics.By sweeping labor under the rug, mainstream economists hide the nature of capitalism, making it appear to be a system based upon equal exchange rather than exploitation inside every workplace. Perelman describes this illusion as the invisible handcuffs of capitalism and traces its roots back to Adam Smith and his contemporaries and their disdain for working people. He argues that far from being a basically fair system of exchanges regulated by the invisible hand of the market, capitalism handcuffs working men and women (and children too) through the very labor process itself. Neoclassical economics attempts to rationalize these handcuffs and tells workers that they are responsible for their own conditions. What we need to do instead, Perelman suggests, is eliminate the handcuffs through collective actions and build a society that we direct ourselves."
    Immanuel Wallerstein
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    In this short, highly readable book, Immanuel Wallerstein provides a condensation of the central ideas of The Modern World-System, his monumental study of capitalism as an integrated, historical entity. In developing an anatomy of capitalism over the past five centuries, Wallerstein provides one of the most coherent and succinct introductions tot he genesis of a global system of exploitation. Particular attention is focused on the emergence and development of a unified world market, and the concomitant international division of labor. Wallerstein argues forcefully, against the grain of much current opinion, that capitalism has brought about an actual, not merely relative, immiseration in the countries of the Third World. The economic and social problems of underdeveloped countries will remain unresolved as long as they remain located within a framework of world capitalism. Historical Capitalism is a welcome and stimulating synthesis of one of the most influential assessments of capitalism as a world-historic mode of production.
    Robert P. Taylor
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    While energy efficiency projects could partly meet new energy demand more cheaply than new supplies, weak economic institutions in developing and transitional economies impede developing and financing energy efficiency retrofits. This book analyzes these difficulties, suggests a 3-part model for projectizing and financing energy efficiency retrofits, and presents thirteen case studies to illustrate the issues and principles involved.