Theories of Modern Capitalism (Routledge Revivals) by Tom Bottomore

By Tom Bottomore

First released in 1985, Theories of contemporary Capitalism presents a succinct learn of Marxist and non-Marxist theories of Capitalism, its fresh improvement, and the customers of a transition to socialism.

The examine starts with a severe exam and comparability of 4 significant theories of capitalism, within the works of Marx, Weber, Schumpeter and Hayek. this can be through an research of the newest part of capitalism which has been conceptualised by means of Marxists thinkers in numerous methods as 'organised capitalism'', 'state monopoly', or 'late capitalism'. eventually, Bottomore considers the query of a 'transition to socialism' within the various interpretations which were provided via Marxists on one aspect, and through Weber, Schumpeter and Hayek at the different.

Theories of contemporary Capitalism may be precious in a variety of classes in social and political idea, and also will have an attract a broader readership taken with problems with social and monetary coverage.

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Unlike Weber, Schumpeter had a profound knowledge not only of Marx’s own writings but also of the works of the most significant later Marxist thinkers, particularly in the economic field;6 and the first part of Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy is devoted to an illuminating exposition of the basic elements of the theory, lavishing praise upon Marx’s achievements as economist and sociologist while being highly critical of many of his detailed arguments. Schumpeter agrees with Marx, so far as the theory of capitalism is concerned,7 in several important respects (see especially Chapter 3 of Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy).

In Schumpeter’s view the bourgeoisie is an unheroic, or (to make use of Weber’s term) a’non-charismatic’, class; the industrialist and merchant has ‘surely no trace of any mystic glamour about him which is what counts in the ruling of men. The stock exchange is a poor substitute for the Holy Grail’ (p. 137). Where the bourgeois strata did attempt to rule directly ‘they did not make a conspicuous success of ruling’, and they fared better, according to Schumpeter, when (as in England) they allowed the feudal, aristocratic element to rule on their behalf (pp.

Similarly, Schumpeter’s later work, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, though widely read, did not generate the kind of theoretical debate which might have been expected, and his ideas have only recently been critically reassessed (Heertje, 1981), but again without giving rise, apparently, to any extensive discussion. ’3 In one form or another these themes, and especially the last three, have remained at the centre of the controversies within (and around) Marxist social theory. Above all, Bernstein emphasized the significance of the changes in class structure and in the conditions of life of the working class: property ownership was becoming more widespread, the general level of living was rising, the middle class was increasing rather than declining in numbers, the structure of capitalist society was not being simplified but was becoming more complex and differentiated, and in consequence there was not a growing polarization of classes.

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