Theories of Modern Capitalism (Routledge Revivals): Volume 17
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First published in 1985, Theories of Modern Capitalism provides a succinct study of Marxist and non-Marxist theories of Capitalism, its recent development, and the prospects of a transition to socialism.
The study begins with a critical examination and comparison of four major theories of capitalism, in the works of Marx, Weber, Schumpeter and Hayek. This is followed by an analysis of the most recent phase of capitalism which has been conceptualised by Marxists thinkers in various ways as 'organised capitalism'', 'state monopoly', or 'late capitalism'. Finally, Bottomore considers the question of a 'transition to socialism' in the diverse interpretations which have been offered by Marxists on one side, and by Weber, Schumpeter and Hayek on the other.
Theories of Modern Capitalism will be valuable in a wide range of courses in social and political theory, and will also have an appeal to a broader readership concerned with issues of social and economic policy.
partly as an element in his critical view of the possibility of socialism. Weber’s reflections in Economy and Society do not amount to a theory of capitalism; indeed, in his pref atory note to Chapter 2, he observes that: What follows is not intended in any sense to be ‘economic theory’. Rather, it consists only in an attempt to define certain concepts which are frequently used and to analyse certain of the simplest sociological relationships in the economic sphere. Furthermore, even a
provision for the needs of a human group is carried out by the method of enterprise, irrespective of what need is involved. (p. 207) He continues by specifying the basic conditions of a capitalist economy: The most general presupposition for the existence of this present-day capitalism is that of rational capital accounting as the norm for all large industrial undertakings…. Such accounting involves, again, first, the appropriation of all physical means of production—land, apparatus, machinery,
private interests and the public good (see note 2). Hayek’s underlying conception of a spontaneous order also diverges widely from the ideas expressed by Popper, who speaks approvingly of the ‘conscious alteration’ of social institutions, or in other words of the desirability of a ‘constructed society’ such as Hayek abjures. In general, Popper’s arguments concerning the ‘open society’ seem to have their source in a style of thought—‘constructivist rationalism’—which Hayek particularly condemns
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recognized in society at large, and is even in some degree consciously reinforced by diverse attempts to regulate and guide the economy as a whole. This is the idea which Hilferding later expressed in his conception of ‘organized capitalism’21 as a stage of capitalist development in which the dominance of large corporations, the growth of state intervention in the economy, and the emergence of various forms of economic planning create the necessary preconditions for transforming ‘an economy