Journal Article

Twentieth-century political economy: a brief history of global capitalism

JD Sachs

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 15, issue 4, pages 90-101
Published in print December 1999 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online December 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/15.4.90
Twentieth-century political economy: a brief history of global capitalism

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Modern capitalism emerged in the early nineteenth century in western Europe and the European offshoots of the Americas and Oceania. Recognizing the unparalleled dynamism of the new socio-economic system, Marx and Engels predicted in 1848 that capitalism would spread to the entire world. By the end of the twentieth century, that prediction was confirmed: capitalism had indeed become global, but only after a tortuous and violent course of institutional change in many parts of the world. This paper provides a brief account of the emergence of global capitalism, and discusses some of the reasons why the diffusion of capitalism has been so conflictual and violently contested.

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Subjects: Economic Development and Growth ; Public Economics ; Political Economy ; Public Policy

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