The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View


ISBN 9789350022412
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ISBN 9789350022412


In this original and provocative book Ellen Meiksins Wood reminds us that capitalism is not a natural and inevitable consequence of human nature, nor is it simply an extension of age-old practices of trade and commerce. Rather, it is a late and localized product of very specific historical conditions, which required great transformations in social relations and in the human interactions with nature.

Thsi new edition is substantially revised and expanded, with extensive new material on imperialism, anti-Eurocentric history, capitalism and the nation-state, and the differences between capitalism and non-capitalist commerce. The author also traces links between the origin of capitalism and contemporary conditions such as ‘globalization’, ecological degradation, and the current agricultural crisis.

“Brilliant book … Into the central thread of her argument, Ellen Meiksins Wood has woven a wonderfully rich texture of comment on the arguments and debates that preceded her … not just a valuable new interpretation of an old history, it carries important lessons for our own times.”

– The Spokesman

“This extremely valuable book offers an insightful tour of the historical debates surrounding the transition from feudalism to capitalism … a must-read for anyone with even the remotest interest in the origins of capitalism, or economic thought in general, from undergraduates through professionals.”


Ellen Meiksins Wood,for many years Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, is the author of a number of books, includingDemocracy Against Capitalism,and,The Retreat from Class(which won the Deutscher Prize),Peasant-Citizen and SlaveandThe Pristine Culture of Capitalism.


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