Capitalist Political Economy : Thinkers and Theories book cover
1st Edition

Capitalist Political Economy
Thinkers and Theories

ISBN 9781138604315
Published April 6, 2020 by Routledge
172 Pages

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Book Description

A key text, Capitalist Political Economy: Thinkers and Theories analyses the field-forming theoretical contributions to political economy that have defined, debated, critiqued, and defended capitalism for more than three centuries.

Political economy recognizes and celebrates the many and varied interconnections between politics and economics in society, together with the economic implications of public policy and the political impact of market and property relations. As such, political economy is both an approach to understanding capitalism and a reflection of the forms and features of capitalism at particular moments. Grounded in primary and secondary literature including theorists’ original writings and leading literary biographies, this text explores principal themes in the development of capitalism and political economic thought. It relates these to markets, property, profits, labour, investment, innovation, the state, growth and crises, gender, the ecological limits of capital accumulation, and rival economic practices. The book contextualizes the legacy of foundational political economists by exploring their life and times and putting them in conversation with other highly influential theorists. Equally, it also considers more contemporary views.

This book serves as an indispensable source for academic communities who are interested in the long arc of capitalist development, theories, and theorists.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Theory and Debate in Political Economy: antecedents and developments
Chapter 1. Adam Smith: a wealth of notions
Chapter 2. Karl Marx: a capital idea
Chapter 3. William Stanley Jevons: the new margins of economics and the economy
Chapter 4. John Maynard Keynes: a General’s theory
Chapter 5. Thorstein Veblen, Joseph Alois Schumpeter, Karl Polanyi: emigrants and iconoclasts
Chapter 6. Fernand Braudel, Immanuel Wallerstein, Giovanni Arrighi: world economy and national crises
Chapter 7. Feminist Political Economy and Ecological Economics: home and away

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Heather Whiteside is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and Fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Canada. Her research and writing centre on theories and practices of privatization, financialization, and fiscal austerity.


"Heather Whiteside truly brings political economy to life in this engaging and incisive book. Quite the opposite of a dry march through theories and concepts, Capitalist Political Economy reveals the thinkers behind the thoughts and the contexts that shaped the concepts. And it’s not just the usual subjects and well-known stories, either: yes, there is Marx, Smith and Keynes, but also Nancy Folbre and David Harvey, Braudel and Polanyi, and a lot more. Highly recommended." - Jamie Peck, University of British Columbia, USA.

"This engaging book reveals the social judgments that lie behind economists' theories. It shows what has shaped the ideas of the leading economic thinkers. It is a must-read for serious students of economic thought - and for anyone seeking to understand how and for whom capitalism works." – Frank Stilwell, The University of Sydney, Australia.

"Political economy addresses the big questions about capitalism -- why certain groups or individuals get what, when and how -- elided by mainstream economics. Heather Whiteside provides an especially fresh, sharp and informed guide to the answers it offers." - Brett Christophers, Uppsala University, Sweden.