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by Michel Beaud

ePub A History of Capitalism, 1500-1980 download
Michel Beaud
Monthly Review Press (March 2001)
Politics & Government
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Includes bibliographical references and index. ark:/13960/t5z68gm4r.

Michel Beaud is the retired professor of economics at University of Paris VIII at Vincennes. He is author of several books, including Socialism Tested by History and The Mirage of Growth: The Political Economy of the Left.

Author Biography: Michel Beaud is the retired professor of economics at University of Paris VIII at Vincennes.

Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them

Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them.

Authors: Beaud, Michel, Dickman, trans Tom, Lefebvre, Anny. Bibliographic Information. eBook 67,82 €. price for Russian Federation (gross).

Global climate change, war, and population decline in recent human history. David D Zhang, Peter Brecke, Harry F. Lee, Yuan-Qing He, Jane Zhang. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Globalization Theory: A Post Mortem.

Bibliographic information.

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Michel Beaud told a historian colleague, Jean Bouvier, that a book by Henri Sée appeared both out of date and inadequate.

Michel Beaud is a retired professor of economics at the University of Paris VIII at Vincennes. Michel Beaud told a historian colleague, Jean Bouvier, that a book by Henri Sée appeared both out of date and inadequate. Bouvier replied that a historian could "never risk such a project

The conquest of the Americas inaugurated the slow accumulation of resources and the imperceptible structural transformations that culminated in the Industrial Revolution. From that moment on, capitalism grew and expanded with a dynamism and adaptability that are now all too familiar, profiting from wars and even managing to rebound after a series of devastating economic crises.

In this highly-anticipated revised edition of the 1981 classic, Beaud extends one of the major strengths of the original: the interweaving of social, political, and economic factors in the context of history. At the same time, Beaud's analysis provides a realistic and thorough examination of the developments of capitalism in the last twenty years, including globalization, the accelerating speed of capital transfer, and the collapse of the Soviet empire and the subsequent absorption of its population into the world market. This new edition also offers a completely revised format that integrates diagrams and flow-charts not previously available in the English-language edition.

  • Classic

  • I read the recently released second edition in hopes of finding a good general history of capitalism. Regrettably I didn't find it here. Frankly this text fails to rise to the level of a general textbook. For example, the author somehow manages to sum up the English enclosure acts, Cromwellian revolution, 1688 and the French Revolution in around five pages with a brief stopover into French absolutism in the mix!

    There is little in the way of recent scholarship here. I also get the feeling that the translation leaves something to be desired.

    The author sums it up best himself in the preface to the second editon. Looking back at his authorship he writes, "I was forty-three. I was not worried about the scientific authority-figures of my discipline, nor the reactions of my colleagues, nor my own abilities... now, twenty or more years later, I am no longer sure I would take it on again."

    A much better choice is The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View by Ellen Meiksins Wood (Verso Press).

  • History of Capitalism

    Michel Beaud's "History of Capitalism" describes the historical underpinnings of the modern western civilization from a Marxian framework. From the earliest emergence of mercantilism to current corporate America, the foundation of capitalisms is the exploitation of workers. America, the paragon of capitalism, was born from the mass murder of the natives and continues with the exploitation of the new proletariat, the exploited workers in the Third World.

    Beaud's analysis is heavily peppered with Marxist terms such as "proletariat," "bourgeois," "exploitation" and "worker's movement." Although there have been several editions of the Beaud's work, his writing is flavored by the early 1980s when two superpowers ruled the world. Clearly, Beaud is sympathetic to the socialist regimes (Socialist bloc) as opposed to the other superpower, United States. His ideological leanings are not hidden from the reader; for example, one of his chapters is entitled "The Parasitism and Decay of Capitalism." The focus is on the rise of the bourgeois class and the corresponding inequities of the proletariat. Politics (representative bodies and popular sovereignty) are not ignored, but de-emphasized. A government does little but keep order and protects property, usually to the advantage of those with property. The rise of the mercantilism permitted men with property to buy the labor of landless men. Beaud presents that the rise of capitalism inevitably caused friction between the haves (bourgeois) and the have-nots (proletariats). Capitalism is conceptualized as the right of the bourgeois to accumulate large amounts of property. Labor is the property, or legitimacy, of the proletariat.

    The bourgeoisie evolved from the merchants of the 17th century to become masters of industry and ultimately subjugate the working class (or proletariat) while opposing the old aristocracy for power. For Beaud, the rise of capitalism (largely described in terms of Taylorism, Fordism) ushered in a new age of slavery. The new working class was a slave to the wages imposed upon them by their industrial masters. They lost control of their capital as they were forced to work on assembly lines doing repetitive, brainless work.

    Unfortunately for the proletariat, socialist aspirations have never come to fruition. As the proletariat class grew in numbers, Marx predicted they would collectivize, realize that they owned nothing and violently overthrow the bourgeoisie in order to gain their freedom. As a result, private property, which is considered in terms relative to bourgeois power, would be abolished. Although the Marxist predictions about inequity and oppressive power have been realized, we are still waiting for the subsequent working class revolution.

    What Beaud does not predict is the derisive advanced consumerist society in which extreme selfishness is widely admired as a virtue. Conversely, sense of community is often mocked as a joke or a waste of time and the sense of community has shriveled to almost nothing. For a market economy, the best way to help your community is to follow self interests. Marxist thought posits the belief that only through the remodeling of society can the working class regain any of the humanistic characteristics which had been lost through their subjugation to the world's industry.

    A problem with defining `class' in the history of capitalism is that, throughout history, followers of the worker's movement tend to spurn the lofty ideals of their socialist elders and find pleasure in the flesh pots of capitalism as soon as the opportunity presented itself. The worker's movement is highly complex, contradictory and ambivalent character. For the Marxist, the trade union should develop toward the socialist ideals. However, there has been no illusion more tragic than to imagine the unions as dependable allies in the struggle against capitalism. It does not automatically follow from the mass working class membership in the trade unions that these organizations act in the interests of the working class. Clearly, within the trade unions, there exists ongoing conflict between the interests of the mass membership and those of the governing bureaucracy. Proletariat is too generic of a term to capture the ambivalence within unions in determining policies that reflect the masses as well as the governing few.

    History of capitalism has been an ongoing balance between the needs of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Only through the unification of capital and labor can profit be produced. In the 21st century, we are still struggling to realize this. For this reason, both the working-class and bourgeois struggle for a close equality of power under economic principles. So long as the laborers collectivize and so long as the bourgeois need proletarian labor for their capital, this struggle for balance will occur.

  • "This clear accessible book does just what its title promises... Writing in a pleasant and nonconfrontational style, Beaud does so using a chronological order without reverting to jargon, and he describes the intellectual as well as the material history of capitalist development ... The book covers the most important elements of the subject and does a good job of pointing readers to additional sources... This reviewer knows of no comparable current work."

    -- M. PERELMAN, CHOICE, American Library Association

  • A book like this couldn't get a better review than a 1 star rating from someone like the reviewer below.

  • I bought this book hoping to fill in some missing pieces in my understanding of European history. I was sorely disappointed.
    Michel Beaud's "History of Capitalism" is an orthodox Marxist-Leninist tract, obviously written in the late 1970s, with a more recently-written final chapter tacked on that addresses contemporary concerns in a knee-jerk liberal manner. Despite its author's professed familiarity with "analyses [that] questioned the simplistic certitudes of Marxist dogma," his own book does not.
    Every paragraph on every page is devoted to repeating words and phrases that are seldom seen anymore in serious works of history or economics: "surplus labor," "exploitation" "proletariate," "rent in labor," etc. The illustrations, also not updated since the 1970s, look like they came from a high school textbook.
    Beaud considers Lenin to be a reliable historian and quotes him as such. Non-Marxist thinkers -- indeed, any credible intellectuals who emerged in the 1980s and 1990s -- rarely appear in this book and are never engaged intellectually. The final chapter is just silly: alarmist environmentalist predictions, denial that the collapse of the USSR tells us anything about the workabililty of socialism, promises that a new "crisis" is around the corner, etc.
    Readers looking for a history of capitalism shouldn't waste their time with Beaud, and instead should turn to "The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought," by Jerry Z. Muller. The difference between the two books is tremendous; it is impossible to take Beaud seriously when one has read Muller.