Understanding Capitalism: Competition, Command, and Change

Paperback | March 9, 2005

bySamuel Bowles, Richard Edwards, Frank Roosevelt

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The third edition of Understanding Capitalism: Competition, Command, and Change is an introduction to economics that explains how capitalism works, why it sometimes does not work as well as we would like it to, and how over time it not only changes but also revolutionizes the world around us.The "three-dimensional approach" of the text focuses on competition in markets; command in firms, governments, and international relations; and change as a permanent feature of a capitalist economy driven by technical innovation and conflict over the distribution of income.The book covers the standard topics of supply and demand, market competition, imperfect competition, aggregate demand, inflation, and unemployment. It emphasizes the extraordinary dynamism and material productivity of the capitalist economy; the psychological foundations of human behavior; the logicand limitations of Adam Smith's invisible hand; technical change and the new information-based economy; global economic integration and its impact on national economies; the impact of economic activity on the environment; and inequality both within and among nations. In addition, it provides acritical evaluation of the tenets of neoclassical economics, a clear introduction to contract theory, and material drawn from new research in behavioral, institutional, and information economics.Understanding Capitalism, Third Edition, is ideal for undergraduate courses in economics and political economy. An Instructor's Manual is available to adopters.FEATURES OF THE THIRD EDITION* Offers a new chapter on the behavioral foundations of economics, showing that the selfishness of the "economic man" leaves out the important role of other social motives and how individual tastes and values evolve in response to experiences* Includes a new chapter that examines how economic success (and poverty) are passed on from parents to children and also looks at the increasing inequality of income and wealth along lines of race and gender* Presents a completely revised and expanded treatment of the revolutionary changes that have been associated with capitalism over the past three centuries* Provides boxed treatments of issues that can serve as the basis of classroom discussions* Defines important terms in the margins throughout the text* Contains a section entitled "Sources of Economic Information" that helps readers locate relevant outside data, both in print and online

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The third edition of Understanding Capitalism: Competition, Command, and Change is an introduction to economics that explains how capitalism works, why it sometimes does not work as well as we would like it to, and how over time it not only changes but also revolutionizes the world around us.The "three-dimensional approach" of the text...

Samuel Bowles is Research Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, U.S.A., and Professor of Economics at the University of Siena, Italy. Richard Edwards is Professor of Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Frank Roosevelt is Professor of Economics at Sarah Lawrence College.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:608 pages, 7.28 × 9.02 × 1.3 inPublished:March 9, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195138651

ISBN - 13:9780195138658

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Table of Contents

PrefaceList of FiguresSources of Economic InformationPART ONE: POLITICAL ECONOMY1. Capitalism Shakes the WorldThe Permanent Technological RevolutionThe Enrichment of Material LifeGrowing InequalityThe Population Explosion and the Growth of CitiesThe Changing Nature of WorkThe Transformation of the FamilyThreats to the EcosystemNew Roles for GovernmentGlobalizationConclusion2. People, Preferences and SocietyConstraints, Preferences, and Beliefs'Economic Man' ReconsideredHuman Nature and Cultural DifferencesThe Economy Produces PeopleConclusion: The Cooperative Species3. A Three-Dimensional Approach to EconomicsEconomic Systems and CapitalismThree-Dimensional EconomicsNeoclassical EconomicsValues in Political Economy4. Political Economy, Past and PresentAdam SmithKarl MarxJoseph SchumpeterJohn Maynard KeynesRonald CoaseAmartya Sen5. The Surplus Product: Conflict and ChangeEconomic Interdependence, Production, and ReproductionThe Surplus ProductA Grain Model of Production and ReproductionInternational Exchange and the Surplus ProductThe Surplus Product and ConflictThe Surplus Product and Change6. Capitalism as an Economic SystemClass and Class RelationshipsClasses and Economic SystemsCapitalismCapitalism, the Surplus Product, and ProfitsConclusion7. American Capitalism: Accumulation and ChangeAccumulation as a Source of ChangeCapitalism Becomes the Dominant Economic System in the United StatesSocial Structures of AccumulationThe Stages of American CapitalismAmerican Capitalism Today: Economic DualismAmerican Capitalism Today: GlobalismPART TWO: MICROECONOMICS8. Supply and Demand: How Markets WorkThe Nature of MarketsSupply and DemandSupply and Demand InteractingShifts in Demand or SupplyConclusion9. Competition and Coordination: The Invisible HandCoordinationCoordination by Rules and by CommandThe Invisible HandThe Invisible Hand in ActionProblems with the Invisible Hand10. Capitalist Production and ProfitsWhat Are Profits?Calculating the Rate of ProfitThe Determinants of the Profit RateThe Rate of Profit per Worker HourThe Labor Determinants of the Profit RateMaterials and Capital Goods as Profit Rate DeterminantsThe Role of Capital Goods (Again)Conclusion: Understanding the Profit Rate11. Competition and ConcentrationCompetition for ProfitsThe Forms of CompetitionInvesting to CompeteThe Dynamics of CompetitionToward Equal Profit Rates?Toward Economic Concentration?12. Wages and WorkWork, Sloth, and Social OrganizationThe Capitalist Firm As a Command EconomyThe Conflict Between Workers and EmployersLabor Discipline: Carrots and SticksThe Labor Market, the Wage, and the Intensity of Labor13. Technology, Control, and Conflict in the WorkplaceThe Social Organization of the WorkplaceTechnology and the Labor ProcessConflict in the WorkplaceProfitability Versus EfficiencyMarkets and HierarchiesDemocratic FirmsPART THREE: MACROECONOMICS14. The Mosaic of InequalityMeasuring Well-Being and InequalityGrowing InequalityWealth InequalityUnequal ChancesRace and InequalityWomen's Work, Women's WagesConclusion: Explaining the Mosaic of Inequality15. Progress and Poverty on a World ScalePoverty and ProgressProductivity and IncomeProductivity, Incentives, and the Surplus ProductCapitalism and Uneven DevelopmentGovernment and the Development ProcessInvestment and Production on a World ScaleConclusion16. Aggregate Demand, Employment, and UnemploymentAggregate Supply and Aggregate DemandUnemployment and Government Fiscal PolicyThe Business Cycle and the Built-in StabilizersInvestment, Aggregate Demand, and Monetary PolicyWages, Aggregate Demand, and UnemploymentConclusion17. The Dilemmas of Macroeconomic PolicyThe High-Employment Profit SqueezeExports, Imports and Aggregate DemandInternational Trade and Macroeconomic PolicyMonetary and Fiscal Policy at OddsInstitutions for Achieving Full EmploymentConclusion18. InflationTwo Types of InflationWhy Worry About Inflation?Conclusion19. Government and the EconomyThe Rules of Government OrganizationThe Economic Activities of the GovernmentThe Expansion of Government Economic ActivityGovernment and the Profit RateThe Limits of Democratic Control of the Capitalist EconomyPART FOUR: CONCLUSION20. The Future of CapitalismThe Limits to GrowthThe Weightless Economy: From Grain and Steel to Information and IdeasThe New EconomyCan the Invisible Hand Tame Fugitive Resources?ConclusionList of VariablesGlossaryIndex