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The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis$
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Roger Berkowitz and Taun N. Toay

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823249602

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823249602.001.0001

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Capitalism: Neither Problem Nor Solution-But Temporary Victim of the Financial Crisis

Capitalism: Neither Problem Nor Solution-But Temporary Victim of the Financial Crisis

Chapter:
(p.145) Fourteen Capitalism: Neither Problem Nor Solution-But Temporary Victim of the Financial Crisis
Source:
The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis
Author(s):

Liah Greenfeld

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823249602.003.0015

Liah Greenfeld argues that capitalism is neither the problem nor the solution to the financial crisis, but a victim of the crisis. Tracing the emergence of capitalism through a reworking of Max Weber's thesis from the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Greenfield argues that capitalism has its roots in nationalism, not religion as Weber suggests. When a nation decides to compete in the field of economic activity, the result is its reorientation toward the accumulation of ever-increasing wealth and, given that the competitors are capable by definition, economies of sustained growth or capitalism. In other words, competitive national exertion is what explains the persistence of capitalist activity. Along the way, Greenfeld dispels misconceptions surrounding capitalism—including the perception that capitalism is tied to globalization.

Keywords:   Karl Marx, Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and hte Spirit of Captalism, The Spirit of Capitalism, England, Wealth of Nations, World War II, England, Globalization, Japan

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