Mikasa Share your thoughts with other customers. If you are a student of politics, sociology or economics you would do well to buy this text and keep it as part of your personal library. If you capigalism a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Jul 28, Brenna Flood rated it really liked it Shelves: Whatever served the individual fo society. Can one call wasteful any undertaking that returns a satisfactory profit? Modern capitalism is corporate-o-cracy, Where corporations are individuals and their growth depends on group of individuals and investors.
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It is not a dry, academic treatise. And it is important, probably more important than the armada of business books being landed today by publishers on how to improve management or how to make a million dollars or how to beat back the Japanese economic threat.
Robert L. Heilbroner has written an elegant, riveting account of the economic system under which we live. It deals with abstractions in the hope that they will clarify why we do what we do in a capitalist society. Profits are for capitalism the functional equivalent of the acquisition of territory of plunder for military regimes, or an increase in the number of believers for religious ones, or the legitimation of recognized authority for states in which a change of rulership has taken place.
They liberated acquisitiveness from its former stigma of moral reprehensibility. Can one call wasteful any undertaking that returns a satisfactory profit? Whatever served the individual served society. By logical analogy, whatever created a profit and thereby served the individual capitalist also served society, so that a blanket moral exception was, so to speak, extended over the entire range of activity that passed the profit-and-loss test of the marketplace.
And he goes to careful pains in this book to note how difficult it is to pin down capitalism in any neat definition. His conclusions may be disputed, he says.
He is not insisting on their unimpeachability. What he does insist on is the appropriateness of his mode of analysis, namely, that it makes sense for us to try to analyze society so that we can place it in a historical context and have a better understanding of the underlying forces that are driving it.
The nature and logic of capitalism
Heilbroner, in his The Nature and Logic of Capitalism, struggles with three difficult-to-define words -- "Nature", "Logic", and "Capitalism" -- and often comes to some startling, if not revealing, opinions on capitalism. He is candid concerning the difficulty of dealing with these three terms. On page 19, he states As a first approximation, then, let us take the nature of capitalism as referring to its behavior-shaping institutions and relationships, and the logic of capitalism as the pattern of configurational change generated and guided by this inner core. Both nature and logic are needed to conceptualize the historic totality of any system Heilbroner, , This is a key paragraph in the book, and one that should be marked by any person wishing to digest his arguments, for it is often necessary to return here when Heilbroner drifts from this premise.
The Nature and Logic of Capitalism by Robert L. Heilbroner (Norton: $15.95; 215 pp.)
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