Of the Alternative to Capitalism

  “Communism still comes to many minds as the prime alternative to capitalism.” —Georgi Derluguian (Georgy Matveyevich Derlugan), Russian-American sociologist and academic  

Of the First Capitalist States

“The Netherlands and England were the first capitalist states.” —Georgi Derluguian (Georgy Matveyevich Derlugan), Russian-American sociologist and academic  

Of Government and the Capitalist Economy

  “Governments may be solely concerned with the better running of ‘the economy’.  But the description of the system as ‘the economy’ is part of the idiom of ideology, and obscures the real process.  For what is being improved is a capitalist...

Of Meritocracy and the Justice of Class Structures

  “More often than not, modern institutions identify merit by looking for characteristics associated with upper-class life.  Once people become conditioned to accept this pecking order, the system takes on the appearance of a meritocracy.  In...

Of Merit, Fairness and Class

  “Unlike a crude caste system, the current social organization is partially permeable.  A few exceptional people from the bottom manage to claw their way up to a relatively high position.  These infrequent successes of a few token people of merit...

Of Ethics and Economics

  “Very real tensions run through Adam Smith’s thought, tensions that derived from his ingenious but untenable effort to reconcile ‘the old ethics with the new economics’.  Smith’s ‘economics’ presupposes his moral theory and its jurisprudential...

Of Positional Goods and the Lust for Gain

  “Many of the best things in life—beautiful country houses, unspoilt holiday resorts, top schools—are essentially limited in supply and so accessible only to the richest.  Such positional or oligarchic goods are one reason why the lust for gain...

Of Happiness and Positive Thinking

  “Might the high happiness levels of America and other Western nations reveal nothing more than the prevalence of ‘positive thinking’—a fierce determination to look on the bright side of life?” —Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky, How Much...

Of Free Trade and Free Market Mythology

  “With only a few exceptions, all of today’s rich countries, including Britain and the United States—the supposed homes of free trade and free market—have become rich through the combinations of protectionism, subsidies and other policies that...

Of Free Trade and National Wealth

  “No country has become rich under a free-trade regime.  They have entered the global market from a starting point of initial wealth, not one of initial poverty.” —Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky, How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good...

Of Advertising

  “One tax reform would cut at the root of the advertising culture: disallowing firms to write off advertising as a business expense. (There is nothing new in the idea of taxing costs.  For example, payroll taxes are taxes on the cost of employing...

Of Herd Thinking

  “Men, it has been well said, think in herds.  It will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” —Charles Mackay, Scottish journalist and author of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the...

Of Collective Opinion and Individual Opinion

  “It has become increasingly recognized that the average opinions of groups is frequently more accurate than most individuals in the group.” —Kenneth Arrow, Professor of Economics  

Of the Political State and Economic Classes

  “Different forms of the state have different degrees of autonomy.  But all states enjoy some autonomy or independence from all classes, including the dominant classes.” —Ralph Miliband, Marxism and Politics, 1977  

Of Marxism and the Modern State

  “In the politics of Marxism, there is no institution which is nearly as important as the state.” —Ralph Miliband, Marxism and Politics, 1977  

Of the Wisdom of Crowds

  “The conditions that are necessary for the crowd to be wise are diversity, independence, and a particular kind of decentralization.” —James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds, 2005  

Of Capitalist Reform

  “Reform has been a major characteristic of capitalist regimes—not surprisingly since reform has been a sine qua non of their perpetuation.  What is perhaps less obvious is that it is the state upon which has fallen the prime responsibility for...

Of Capitalist Crisis

  “If the crisis of capitalism is severe enough—a majority of the population structurally unemployed, robots and computers doing almost all the income-generating work but owned by a small number of wealthy capitalists, the economy in deep...

Of Capitalism

  “The institutional transformation from capitalism to a noncapitalist system of political economy—an institutional revolution—could come about through peaceful political process.” —Randall Collins, Professor of Sociology  

Of Capitalism

  "Capitalism becomes too self-destructive to continue."   —Randall Collins, Professor of Sociology  

Of Information and Educated Guesses

  “Nobody has accurate information about the future.  We can only make educated guesses about what is in store for us.  Unfortunately, in our educated guesses, most of us, economists included, overestimate our education and underestimate the degree...

Of Capitalism

  “The ‘real economy’ remains depressed—if not quite ‘in depression.’  Growth in GDP is low; unemployment remains high; new job creation recurrently fails to meet analysts’ expectations.  Yet anxieties about inflation and government debt lead some...