The History and Nature of Capitalism – Revised Version

Exploring the Nature of Capitalism

… Latest version of the book (12 January 2018)

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(This evolving version includes current additions/alterations since 10th November 2014. The latest update date is shown above.)

This version now includes an additional chapter, “The Nature and importance of Public and Private Credit”. This is a consolidation and reworking of the various footnotes developed in the previous version to address the need for progressive taxation and other processes of redistribution in democratically organized capitalist societies. It is inevitable, of course, that this chapter (and others) will further evolve over the coming months.

Minor revisions/additions occur regularly as new relevant studies appear and are integrated into the text – often as footnotes. When cumulative changes and/or reworking warrant it, the version date is altered to reflect this. All versions are regularly updated to include these changes.

A table of update dates from 01 January, 2016 has been included at the end of the book. Clicking on a date will move you to the update site (in the book). In HTML versions, right-click and select ‘Back’ to return to the list.

Changes are now marked with: {§} (dd/mm/yy). Inclusion of the date of each change enables searching for editorial changes using the date: e.g. ‘(20/03/16)’ will find changes made on March 20, 2016. Where the version (e.g. HTML) enables this, moving the mouse over the mark displays the date changes were made. To facilitate this, the HTML Reader includes several options in the ‘View’ drop-down menu list for searches by date and for accessing both recent changes and all changes made since the last revised version.

(Click here for a free (no-strings-attached) stand-alone Windows HTML Reader written for use in reading articles and books from this site. Includes an updatable copy of The History and Nature of Capitalism (Digital certification costs $500 a year (isn’t capitalism wonderful!), so this application is not digitally signed. You might be asked whether you ‘trust’ the provider when attempting to install it. If you are, click ‘Run Anyway’ to install it.))

For those who need an unchanging text, the version of the book The History and Nature of Capitalism, dated 10th November 2014 ( and earlier versions) can be accessed at the bottom of this page.

The Nature and History of Capitalism

It is said that the aphorism ‘Know Yourself’ was inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Finding out who we are can be an unsettling experience.

Not only do human beings gild memories of experiences in their own lifetimes, they are extremely adept at reinventing those of their historical past. It can be an educative experience to strip away what the French philosopher Voltaire called the ‘fable upon which we are all agreed’.

It’s time we, living in capitalist countries, got ourselves into perspective.

Over the past three centuries, people living in Western (capitalist) countries have increasingly imposed their understanding of reality on others. Now, they are becoming aware of a growing antipathy toward ‘The West’ around the world.

The late Henry Hyde’s view of the problems facing Western countries is not isolated,

Let us begin by accepting there is no single enemy to be defeated, no one network to be eliminated. Al-Qa’eda is but our most prominent opponent, but its outlook is shared by many others who are equally committed to our destruction…

We know now that we have permanent, mortal enemies who will seize upon our vulnerabilities to bloody us, to murder our citizens, to commit horror for the purpose of forcing horror upon us…
(US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations October 3 2001)

For the past decade the West has confronted what it perceives as a growing ‘climate of terror’ around the world.

While estimates vary, it is reasonable to say that thousands of lives have been lost and billions of dollars have been spent in pursuing, capturing and killing those deemed a threat to the security of Western nations.

It is time to take stock. Before continuing to pursue phantoms and shoot at shadows (and, in the process, alienate thousands caught in the crossfire) we need to understand what is producing this apparently burgeoning antipathy toward Western capitalist countries.

Western capitalist nations, over the past several centuries, have attempted to re-organize the world to reflect their understanding of reality. Although we often fail to recognize it, this requires a far-reaching reorganization of people’s lives in non-Western countries. It would be surprising if there was not, sooner or later, a reaction against such activity.


What is capitalism?

What gives people living by capitalist understandings of the world such a determination to reorganize the rest of the world to their understanding?

What is it that has produced in Western people such a deep need to dominate and change the world?

And, what impact does this attempt to reorganize the world have on people living in non-Western regions?


Previous versions compressed in zipped files:

«HTML and PDF Versions of EXPLORING_CAPITALISM_THE-BOOK_8th January 2011 in a zipped file»
«HTML and PDF Versions of EXPLORING_CAPITALISM_THE-BOOK-20th May 2012 in a zipped file»
«HTML and PDF Versions of EXPLORING_CAPITALISM_THE-BOOK_23rd November 2012 in a zipped file»
«HTML and PDF Versions of EXPLORING_CAPITALISM_THE-BOOK_16th March 2013 in a zipped file»
«HTML and PDF Versions of EXPLORING_CAPITALISM_THE-BOOK_10th November 2014 in a zipped file»

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