An Introduction to Capitalism
By Paul Swanson
Published September 4th 2012 by Routledge – 372 pages
Embedded in an historical account of the development of U.S. capitalism up to the present day, this book gives the reader a thorough description of the major aspects of the U.S. economy, as well as a theoretical understanding of the overall economy. A particular focus of this book is how free markets work in capitalism and the interrelationship between markets and the government. Of particular interest in the current economic situation is the question of what can the government do to get the economy going again.
Underlying the standard economics text today is the fundamental belief that leaving markets as free as possible will lead to the ideal economy. Directly opposing this approach, this book takes a critical stance toward free markets. Rather than viewing markets as the ideal solution to almost all economic problems, this book argues that markets are not always the answer. On the contrary, they are often the problem, and must be corrected by government action. Related to this critical stance, and in a further departure from current economics texts, this book takes an explicitly Keynesian approach to the macro-economy. Rejecting the free market approach which dominates both micro- and macro-economics today, this book offers a fresh perspective on economics and the economy today.
Part 1: The Development of the Capitalist System 1. Economic Systems 2. The Rise of Capitalism in the United States 3. Growth in the US Economy, 1865-1914 4. Imperialism 5. The Socialist Challenge Part 2: Markets in a Capitalist Economy 6. Markets 7. Labor Markets 8. Labor 9. Income Distribution 10. Personal Income and Wealth Distribution 11. Poverty Part 3: Public Policy: Issues and Institutions 12. Market Failure and Government Regulation 13. The Economy and the Environment 14. Measuring the Economy 15. Business Cycles and Unemployment 16. The Theory of Output and Employment 17. Accumulation and Macroeconomic Instability 18. The Federal Government Budget: Instrument of Fiscal Policy 19. Money, Banking, and the Federal Reserve 20. International Trade Part 4: Recent History and Beyond 21. The Great Depression: Time of Economic Crisis 22. The Post-War Economic Boom 23. After the Golden Age: The Rise of Free Market Ideology
Paul Swanson is Associate Professor of Economics at William Paterson University, USA