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Global Capitalism: A Sociological Perspective

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4451-6
180 pages
March 2010, Polity
Global Capitalism: A Sociological Perspective (0745644511) cover image
The global financial crisis has challenged many of our most authoritative economic ideologies and policies. After thirty years of reshaping the world to conform to the market, governments and societies are now calling for a retreat to a yet undefined new economic order.

In order to provide a guide to what the twenty-first-century economy might look like, this book revisits the great project of Global Capitalism. What did it actually entail? How far did it go? What were its strengths and failings? By deconstructing its core ideas and examining its empirical record, can we gain clues about how to move forward after the crisis? Miguel Centeno and Joseph Cohen define capitalism as a historically-evolving and socially-constructed institution, rooted in three core economic activities trade, finance and marketing and identify the three key challenges that any new economic system will need to surmount inequality, governance, and environmental sustainability.

This accessible and engaging book will be essential reading for students of economic sociology, and all those interested in the construction of our economic future.


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List of Figures, Tables, and Boxes vi

Acknowledgments viii

Introduction 1

1 Global Capitalism 11

2 Trade 38

3 Finance and Wealth 64

4 Marketing and Consumption 94

5 Governance 120

6 Inequality 146

7 Living with Limits 174

Conclusion 198

Notes 209

References 213

Index 232

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  • Timely overview and investigation of global capitalism and the lessons it can offer in the wake of the financial crisis.
  • Focuses on three core economic activities Ð trade, finance and marketing Ð and the role they play in global capitalism.
  • Looks forward by identifying the three key challenges that any new economic system will need to surmount Ð inequality, governance, and environmental sustainability.
  • Accessible and engaging reading for students of economic sociology, and all those interested in the construction of our economic future.
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"Fresh and well-written."
Contemporary Sociology

"Finally here is a book that makes brilliant sense out of globalization's multiple and often contradictory facets. With deep insight and sparkling illustrations, Centeno and Cohen offer a comprehensive overview of how global capitalism works: both its promise and threats. Read it to understand our past, present, and future economic worlds."
Viviana A. Zelizer, Princeton University

"This book shows the virtues of a historical/sociological interpretation of global capitalism, and as a bonus the writing is graceful and clear. Conflicting viewpoints are judiciously and succinctly evaluated. The extensive references to the literature are unobtrusive and impressive. Putting the current crisis into perspective, without reducing its urgency, is a singular achievement."
Charles Perrow, Yale University

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