Capitalism

The Meaning of Bank Deposits - Edwin Cannan (1921)

I HOPE I am not succumbing to the fashion of supposing a golden age in the past, but I cannot help thinking that the nature and functions of deposit banking were much better understood forty years ago than they are now. We had not then become convinced that nothing in economics can be both simple and true, and the young were taught that the theory of deposit banking was very simple.

The Agrarian Origin of Capitalism - Darren Poynton (2011)

The transition from feudalism to capitalism is often viewed as the result of a gradual and rising progress of technology, urbanisation, science and trade - inevitable because humans have always possessed ‘the propensity to truck, barter and exchange’ (Adam Smith). However, as I hope to demonstrate, the rise of capitalism depended on very specific and localised conditions and was the result of a process that was far from automatic.

Conversation With a Hairdresser’s Assistant - Wilhelm Reich (1935)

In the 1930s Wilhelm Reich, perhaps best known as the author of The Sexual Revolution, developed the theory that it was possible to explain the basic concepts of Marxian economics without employing complicated economic terms and arguments. As an example of his attempt at this, we publish below, for the first time in English translation, an article he wrote in 1935 under his pseudonym of Ernst Parell for the Zeitschrift für politische Psychologie und Sexualökonomie (vol 2, No 1) he published in exile in Denmark.

Assistant: Style or a simple haircut?

What is Capitalism? - Adam Buick & John Crump (1987)

In this pamphlet we shall identify the essential features of capital­ism and then go on to discuss state capitalism and the nature of the capitalist class. We shall be describing in Marxian terms, concisely but thoroughly, the economic mechanism and set of social relation­ships that constitute capitalism. We believe Marx’s analysis to be in general still valid even if, the institutional forms of capitalism have changed from those of Britain in the nineteenth century which Marx studied. We can assure readers who may initially find parts of this pamphlet difficult that if they

Can Banks Create Credit? - Edgar Hardcastle (1971)

Confusion about banking operations and the power of bankers has been in evidence for a long time. It was known before 1848, and that year saw the publication of two works putting opposite points of view. One was Lectures on the Nature and Use of Money in which John Gray outlined a scheme which was the forerunner of the Social Credit Movement founded by Major Douglas in the nineteen twenties. The other was John Stuart Mill’s Principles of Political Economy which contained the following:

Towards a better understanding of the world, in order to change it.

The world we live in is a world of contradictions. The environment is in a state of decline, yet industry continues to pump pollutants into the atmosphere whilst non-polluting technologies are neglected. Thousands starve, while food stocks remain unused. We can communicate with strangers from all around the globe, yet no-one knows their neighbour. Automation could free us from labour, yet we are chained to the machine.

Capitalism and Communism - Gilles Dauvé (Jean Barrot) (1974/97)

This text is taken from chapter 1 of the larger work “The Eclipse and Re-Emergence of the Communist Movement”, first published by Black & Red in Detroit in 1974. This chapter was reprinted in the mid 1980's as “What is Communism?” by Unpopular Books in London. A shorter, revised edition of the whole work was reissued by Antagonism Press in 1997.

This text follows the 1974 edition incorporating the additions from the 1997 version in square brackets.

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