1st Edition

The Structure and Operation of Modern Economies

By Alessandro Romagnoli Copyright 2024
    342 Pages 72 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book is about the economy rather than economics. It explores the structures, inner workings and problems of modern economies, showing how the organisations and networks that shape the structure of the economy are arranged to provide society with goods and services.

    At the centre of the analysis there is the economic system, characterised by organisational components carrying out economic functions (production, consumption, distribution, and establishment and control of the economic activities as well as provision of public goods and services) and by a co-evolving dynamic with the state. The economic system is thus a ‘machine’ that modern states have organised through their laws and international agreements. The book incorporates a historical approach which reveals the varieties, structure and evolution of capitalism as the defining economic system of the modern age. Ultimately, the book demonstrates that the economic sphere and the political sphere are the two powers ruling people’s lives: the economy is the result of their interactions.

    This book will be of great interest to readers in political economy, economics, sociology and political science.

    Introduction   PART I: Emergence, evolution and representation of modern economies   1. The historical pathways to the emergence of modern economies    2. The long-run driving forces behind the evolution of capitalist economies   3. A methodological framework for studying capitalist economies   4. Representation and appraisal of modern economic systems   PART II: Structure and operation of modern economies   5. The state: counterpart, partner and subject of the capitalist economy   6. Production: a transformation process steered by materials, assets, labour and institutions    7. Consumption: needs satisfaction driven by production and social institutions    8. The market: regulated exchanges allowing capitalist economies' operation    PART III: The coordination of the economic relations among the states: the world economy    9. The world economy and the coordination of international exchanges    10. The international economic order toward one-dimensional global economy   Conclusions


    Alessandro Romagnoli is Alma Mater Professor of the University of Bologna (Italy), where he taught economics of the firm, economic development in the Middle East and North Africa and economic system analysis. His research interests encompass productive processes and firm structural evolution in agricultural and industrial sectors, the development process of the Middle East and North Africa and the structure of economic systems.

    'Many authors have attempted to overcome the well-known methodological shortcomings of traditional mainstream economics: methodological individualism, externalisation of society, abstract rational agents. Romagnoli creates a forceful attempt to overcome these by taking a unique approach, that of systems theory!'

    Zoltan Pogatsa University of West Hungary