The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View

Overview

In this original and provocative book Ellen Meiksins Wood 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 late and localized product of very specific historical conditions, which required great transformations in social relations and in the human interaction with nature.

This new edition is substantially revised and expanded, with extensive new ...

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Overview

In this original and provocative book Ellen Meiksins Wood 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 late and localized product of very specific historical conditions, which required great transformations in social relations and in the human interaction with nature.

This new edition is substantially revised and expanded, with extensive new material on imperialism, anti-Eurocentric history, capitalism and the nation-state, and the differences between capitalism and non-capitalist commerce. The author traces links between the origin of capitalism and contemporary conditions such as 'globalization', ecological degradation, and the current agricultural crisis.

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Editorial Reviews

Adrienne Rich
The writing is so supple and accessible, and the argument so persuasive...
Choice
A must read for anyone with even the remotest interest in the origins of capitalism.
Spokesman
[A] brilliant little book...it carries important lessons for our own times.
Choice
“This extremely valuable book offers an insightful tour of the historical debates surrounding the transition from feudalism to capitalism ... a must read for anyone with even the remotest interest in the origins of capitalism, or economic thought in general, from undergraduates through professionals.”
Adrienne Rich
“The writing is so supple and accessible, and the argument so persuasive, it's like watching a cloudy mixture of ideas being turned into a clear solution.”
The Spokesman
“[A] brilliant book ... Into the central thread of her argument, Ellen Meiksins Wood has woven a wonderfully rich texture of comment on the arguments and debates that preceded her ... not just a valuable new interpretation of an old history, it carries important lessons for our own times.”
From the Publisher
“This extremely valuable book offers an insightful tour of the historical debates surrounding the transition from feudalism to capitalism ... a must read for anyone with even the remotest interest in the origins of capitalism, or economic thought in general, from undergraduates through professionals.”—Choice

“The writing is so supple and accessible, and the argument so persuasive, it’s like watching a cloudy mixture of ideas being turned into a clear solution.”—Adrienne Rich

“[A] brilliant book ... Into the central thread of her argument, Ellen Meiksins Wood has woven a wonderfully rich texture of comment on the arguments and debates that preceded her ... not just a valuable new interpretation of an old history, it carries important lessons for our own times.”—The Spokesman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859846803
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 6/30/2002
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Meiksins Wood, for many years Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, is the author of a number of books, including Democracy Against Capitalism and, with Verso, The Pristine Culture of Capitalism, The Origin of Capitalism, Peasant-Citizen and Slave, Empire of Capital, Citizens to Lords, and Liberty & Property.
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