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The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View

by Ellen Meiksins Wood

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442449,074 (3.8)None
In this work, the author reminds us that capitalism is not a natural and inevitable consequence of human nature, nor is it simply an extension of age-old practices of trade and commerce. Rather, it is a product of very specific historical conditions.
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  revirier | Dec 13, 2021 |
Rather more in-crowd than I'd expected; this should be subtitled 'What previous analyses have got wrong', rather than 'a longer view.' But the central insight is crucial: our society is not something that happens naturally when you get rid of barriers to us doing what comes naturally. It's something that was created by forcing people to do capitalist things. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
This is a short, dense and rewarding book. Although highly analytical I do wish the book somehow was even more clear in its arguments. To give but one example: "capitalist exploitation is characterised by a division of labour between the 'economic' moment of appropriation and the 'extra-economic' or 'political' moment of coercion." In this case, since this is a book about capitalism, the use of "division of labour" in the abstract sense is misleading. Here, Wood is not talking about labour at all, but about the means of capitalist control, or about the institutional structure of capitalism. Why not just write "...a division between..."? This lack of sharpness and clarity piles on, so that stretches of genius are intersperesed with unexpectedly bewildering paragraphs that require re-reading. One has very few points of disagreement with the author of this fantastic text - but one does wish that she might have had a more activist editor. ( )
  GeorgeHunter | Sep 13, 2020 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ellen Meiksins Woodprimary authorall editionscalculated
Převrátil, RudolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In this work, the author reminds us that capitalism is not a natural and inevitable consequence of human nature, nor is it simply an extension of age-old practices of trade and commerce. Rather, it is a product of very specific historical conditions.

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