Capitalism: The Basics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Capitalism: The Basics

1st Edition

By David Coates


192 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2015-09-15
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The global economy is dominated by a powerful set of established and emerging capitalisms, from the long-standing capitalist economies of the West to the rising economies of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. An understanding of capitalism is therefore fundamental to understanding the modern world. Capitalism: The Basics is an accessible introduction to a variety of capitalisms and explores key topics such as:

  • the history of major capitalist economies;
  • the central role played by both states and markets in the global economy;
  • the impact of capitalism on wages, workers and welfare;
  • approaches to the analysis of capitalism, and choices for capitalism’s future.

Examining capitalism from both above and below, featuring a range of case studies from around the globe, and including a comprehensive glossary, this book is the ideal introduction for students studying capitalism.


The reach of capitalism is increasing, impacting on more and more people. As recent events have shown, capitalism is a dynamic system prone to crises. David Coates has produced a concise, yet comprehensive account of capitalism, providing key insights into its origins, dynamism, consequences, and possible trajectory. It is an invaluable resource for all students of capitalism.

Matthew Allen, Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester

David Coates, one of the pre-eminent scholars of capitalism has produced in this introductory volume another compelling contribution to the debate. It will make an excellent starting point for new waves of scholars interrogating the nature of capitalism. The book is very coherently and cogently structured to achieve very effective coverage of all the key issues, topics and debates. More importantly it is written in a lively style bringing to bear a vast array of historical and comparative insights and examples to inform a lucid, reflective critical account of capitalism’s past, present and future.

Ben Clift, Professor of Political Economy, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick.

Anyone looking to understand the basic tenets of capitalism, both from above and from below, should read this superb book. David Coates has written perhaps the best introduction to capitalism there is out there, and he has done so with panache and erudition. By tackling the history, the variety, and the consequences of capitalism in a truly balanced manner and with scholarly sophistication, Coates encourages his reader to chart capitalism's future. A whole new generation of students will greatly benefit and learn from Coates' insights and humanity.

Matthias Matthijs, Assistant Professor of International Political Economy, Johns Hopkins University, SAIS.

Table of Contents

1. What is Capitalism? 2. Capitalism from Above 3. Capitalism from Below 4.Capitalism in Contention 5. Capitalism and its Consequences 6. Capitalism and its Future

About the Author

David Coates holds the chair in Anglo-American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, USA.

About the Series

The Basics

The Basics is a highly successful series of accessible guidebooks which provide an overview of the fundamental principles of a subject area in a jargon-free and undaunting format.

Intended for students approaching a subject for the first time, the books both introduce the essentials of a subject and provide an ideal springboard for further study. With over 50 titles spanning subjects from Artificial Intelligence to Women’s Studies, The Basics are an ideal starting point for students seeking to understand a subject area.

Each text comes with recommendations for further study and gradually introduces the complexities and nuances within a subject.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: