21st Century Capitalism Essay

1485 Words 6 Pages
21st Century Capitalism

21st Century Capitalism. By Robert Heilbroner. (New York: Norton, 1993. 175pp., $17.95)

The Work of Nations: Preparing Ourselves for 21st Century Capitalism. By Robert Reich. (New York: Vintage, 1992. 339pp., $14.00)

Undoubtedly, the 20th century has witnessed some of the most significant economic events in modern history. For example, the Great Depression saw capitalism come close to its end, and the principles of laissez-faire repudiated as the New Deal was enacted to rehabilitate the economy. More recently, the downfall of the Soviet Union represented a major victory for capitalism over the now-defunct communist system, which is nearing extinction even in the land of Mao, as China reluctantly and
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Command necessitates orders from some authority and is based on some enforcement mechanism. Some examples of peoples who lived in Command societies are the Romans under the emperors, the Egyptians under the pharaohs, and Stalinist Russia.

The purpose of this analysis is to arrive at the concept of the Market, fundamental to the workings of capitalism. The Market system involves each individual doing what he or she pleases, without any instructions or directions from above. The theory goes that any shortages or excesses will be alleviated since the market is above all, self-correcting.

Central to capitalism is the drive for capital, to which Heilbroner devotes an entire chapter. He goes to great lengths to differentiate between capital and wealth. “Capital is wealth whose value does not inhere in its physical characteristics but in its use to create a larger amount of capital”. (Heilbroner 46) Thus, capital is valued because of its ability to increase itself, while wealth is relatively static. Another superb aspect of Heilbroner’s work is his ability to interweave the words of other great economists
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