The History and Nature of Capitalism: The Book

Revised Version has been posted for this book:

… Read the book

HTML Version» «EPUB Version:» «MOBI Version:» «PDF Version:»)


It is time to draw the threads together and present the articles in this blog series on capitalism as an integrated whole. The result is a book entitled The History and Nature of Capitalism which includes rewritten versions of 9 of the Capitalism blog entries, linked through a wide range of clickable footnotes (obviously this is all designed as an ebook (a hard copy version would make for a very unwieldy book)).

I have reworked each of the articles to take into account ideas developed in later entries and, also, to address issues which have emerged in the course of this rewriting. I reserve the right, as I return to the text from time to time, to alter anything I decide needs further reworking.

I think this is one of the real virtues of the ebook format – nothing needs to be set in stone (or paper) and so mistakes, careless language, loose thinking, and material which is being misunderstood or misinterpreted can be addressed over time. If major changes are made I’ll signal this by posting a new version showing the revision date.

The book, like the earlier blog entries, has been written using the Complete Home Library application’s HTML editor. This application is available for download (sorry, I have only written a Windows version of it).

A library of the blog entries is also available for download, for use in the application. To access it, select ‘Download demonstration libraries’ from the Help menu in the main Complete Home Library screen. From the HTML page which is accessed, select the library ‘Anthropology and the Western World (updated 8th October 2010)’ and download it to your computer desktop. Leave it on your desktop, the application will unpack it if it is already running or will unpack the downloaded file when you next run it.

The download versions of the book below, present the complete set of writings in a form which will allow you to follow footnoting to other sections of the book without having to be connected to the internet. If you move to other sections, and want to return to your place in the book, right-click and select the option ‘back’, this will return you to your previous location.

I have left the ‘Comments’ option for each of the chapters so that, should something occur to you while reading, or should you have suggestions for improving the content, you can provide feedback for each section. To comment on the whole book, please use the Comments option below. I assure you that I do take into account the ideas of others in developing mine.

Spring has arrived in my neck of the woods, the lawns are growing so fast you can almost see the grass getting longer, and there is much to do in the garden so I’ll concentrate on that for the next couple of months (and, yes, I will find time to take the boat out once in a while (life is hell!)). But, I will be back.

The next series will focus on the present impact of capitalism, both on people and on our environments. I look forward to sharing ideas with you then.

… Read the book

HTML (zipped ‘.htm’ file) Version
Kindle (zipped ‘.mobi’ file) Version
Ebook (zipped ‘.epub’ file) Version
Ebook (zipped ‘.pdf’ file) Version
(with clickable footnotes – if you’re using a PDF Reader which recognises them – Try Foxit Reader if your’s doesn’t)

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40 Responses to “The History and Nature of Capitalism: The Book”

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  9. badmash says:

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  10. Bill G says:

    Yes, with a focus on present impacts of capitalism on communities and their environments.

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  16. LU says:

    Very good subject and very well thought out. I am by no means well versed in the subject, but I think that the most interesting anthropological aspect of capitalism, especially from a global perspective, is that it allows everyone to speak the same “language” and be predictably motivated by the same forces. When people are motivated by commodities and profit, they are much more likely to get along, or at least tolerate each other for profit, than when motivated by religion or power.

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  20. Tom says:

    Capitalism is the ONLY way to go. God did NOT make each person equal to the other. Only that HE looks at each one of us as His creation. To one another, there are many differences in how we look, act, and think. God gave us HIS FREE WILL. Therefore, as a human being, we should have the freewill to make money or give it away. We should be able to make our own choices on what we want to do with that money. However, we do not have the right to force another person to take care of us if we choose not to take care of ourselves. Having said that, to live in a welfare state would end up a total disaster to that society as Margaret Thatcher said, “what happens when you run out of other people’s money?” (not exact quote) Sooner or later, the workers will not want to work anymore. Then what would society do? Charity should NOT be forced upon someone and the government should not TAKE the people’s money to pay for that charity (welfare programs) because it will always end badly: not enough ‘stuff’; no incentive to take care of self by working; unreasonable demands on the working class. TRUE charity is an individual’s personal decision to give to another person or organization. To force that person to give IS NOT CHARITY. It is a pyramid scheme. There is no other way but CAPITALISM. However, as Jesus said, “You will always have the poor with you.” So, that tells me that capitalism in its purest honest form, is the worthiest of all. Socialism, Marxism, Communism, and any other ISMs are slave-type economies where only the rich will survive; only those in charge or at the top of the ladder, will have anything. In each of those ISMs, ask yourself this question, “will that rich person sell what he has to give to you?” “Is it right to take from someone else when they worked for it and YOU DID NOT?” Most people, when they have worked at a job and bring home a paycheck, have a real pride in knowing that it was done so out of integrity, honor, and CAPITALISM. They enjoy the fruits of their labors. If you believe in the Holy Bible, there is absolutely NOTHING in that book that tells us that we must all work and work and work and then hand over our earnings to those who do not want to work. Even the mere thought of that, makes my skin crawl. It is usually the person who is UNEDUCATED, and ignorant of truth who will demand that you, the educated, the learned, the informed person, GIVE THEM OR SHARE WITH THEM WHAT YOU WORKED SO HARD FOR. Yes, there are those who would exploit others – they will always be there, even with the ISMs. THERE IS NO PERFECT SOCIETY AND THERE NEVER WILL BE UNTIL JESUS COMES AGAIN. Until then, I know that God would want us to follow the 10 commandments, work hard every day, and help those that need help through our own FREE WILL. There is the key: FREE WILL. If you have no freedom, you are as good as dead anyways. What would be the point of living?

    BE VERY, VERY, CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR IN THIS LIFE. You will pay for it in one way or another. To force another person to do anything against his/her will (economically, financially, and those things), you WILL create an enemy. Capitalism is NOT without its flaws, for as there is a good and gracious God to giveth, there is also the devil who taketh away. And, if you don’t believe in good and evil in those terms, then why force your unbelief on someone else? POWER. Everyone seems to want POWER, which sooner or later, destroys the soul.

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  22. capitalist says:

    As an American, I am ashamed and surprised to say that the United States is quite hypocritical. Americans like to say that they love freedom and justice, but here are some examples of where American actions conflict with American standards:

    1. The US inspected a Soviet Union fighter jet that landed in Japan in 1976, but protested that China should not search an American plane that landed in China in 2001.

    2. The Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly states that people should not be subject to the same offense twice, but sex offenders can be convicted of crimes and then later be required to register as sex offenders and be held for life under indefinite civil commitment laws even after they complete their original sentences. “John TV” shows that embarrass and punish people arrested on prostitution charges also violate the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process rights.

    3. The Sixth Amendment guaranteeing the right to speedy trials is violated by holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay without charge. The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishments and is violated by torturing Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Whether the prisoners are foreigners or not makes no difference because it violates the intent of the Constitution and sends the message to other nations that human rights violations are acceptable. Taking the moral high ground is difficult when you are immoral yourself. If you want to prevent terrorism, give terrorists a trial, improve airline security, and don’t give out visas easily. Torturing suspected terrorists only recruits more terrorists. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    4. The Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches is violated by the Patriot Act that allows secret warrants.

    5. The Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches and seizures, the Fifth amendment that allows due process, and the Eighth Amendment that forbids excessive bail, fines, and cruel and unusual punishment are all violated by DUI checkpoints and asset forfeiture laws.

    6. The Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches and the Fourteenth Amendment that guarantees equal protection of the law is violated by Arizona’s immigration law that requires police to question people who look like illegal immigrants. Illegal immigration would be better stopped by having a strong border and fining employers of illegal immigrants, not by profiling Americans who look like foreigners.

    7. The United States criticizes Iran and North Korea for developing nuclear power, but the US helps the United Arab Emirates, India, and Vietnam develop nuclear technology.

    8. The USA supports democracy, but has overthrown democratically elected leaders in Iran and Chile. The US also supports countries that do not have religious freedom and democracy like Saudi Arabia and has supported dictators like Ferdinand Marcos from the Philippines, Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam, Suharto in Indonesia, and Saddam Hussein from Iraq .

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06353/747165-109.stm

    http://www.military-veterans-for-justice.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10&Itemid=13

    9. The US opposes terrorism, but has supported Osama bin Laden and freed the accused Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles suspected of blowing up a plane in 1976.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/15/osama-qna.htm

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/may/15/theterroristbushisntafter

    10. The United States says that it supports free trade, but foreign companies can currently only own 25% of an airline in the US, while American companies can buy 49% of an airline in Europe.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=atMw6Pzh8Ls0

    11. The United States criticizes Airbus for receiving European government subsidies while ignoring the fact that Boeing accepted government tax breaks.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/business/global/04wto.html

    Maybe it is just human nature, but Americans have always looked for an enemy to blame from witches to blacks to Communists. Today people are aghast that the US had Japanese concentration camps and once allowed slavery and segregation. How will people look back on the treatment of sex offenders, Muslims, and illegal immigrants in the USA 60 years from now?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/opinion/05kristof.html

    Criminals should be punished, but only in a way that doesn’t violate the Constitution. Even innocent people can be arrested and wrongly convicted.

    If you care about your freedom, write your elected officials. Governments would love to take away all your freedom if they could. Our freedoms are diminishing, not growing. Stand up, fight for your rights, and protect our freedom now!

    ——–

    First they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, but I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me, but there was no one left to speak for me.

    If only one person is not free, then no one is free.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

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