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Palgrave Macmillan

Pathology of the Capitalist Spirit

An Essay on Greed, Loss, and Hope

ISBN 9781137325556
Publication Date April 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot

Pathology of the Capitalist Spirit is about capital and about the economic system that bears its name. In this book, Levine argues that our pursuit of ever-more wealth in the form of capital expresses our dissatisfaction with the world we live in, with what we have and what we don't have. Capital embodies our hope for something different. Because capital embodies this hope, it has become desire's object.

In his study of capitalism, Levine explores the meaning of capital as a social reality connected to fundamental human aspirations. The link between capital and the pursuit of a hoped-for state is especially important in light of the stubborn insistence on the part of its critics that capitalism exists to serve the material interests of those whose vocation is to own capital. This misunderstanding ignores what is essential about capital, which is its link not to interests but to hope, especially the hope that by accumulating capital the individual can achieve an attachment to the good.

It is this hope that blocks tolerance of any notion that there is something unfair in the capitalist's acquisition of wealth and that fairness can be achieved through its redistribution to others. It is also this hope that animates the capitalist system as a whole. And in that sense, this hope is the spirit of capitalism.

To develop this theme, Levine calls on the ideas and writings of major theorists involved with understanding modernity and capitalism: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Joseph Schumpeter.

David Levine has been Professor of Economics in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, USA since 1987. Prior to his appointment at the Korbel School, he held the position of Professor and Chair of the University's Economics Department. Between 1973 and 1981, he held the positions of Assistant and Associate Professor of Economics at Yale
University. He is the author of numerous books and articles in the fields of political economy and political psychology, including: Poverty, Work and Freedom (with Abu Rizvi, 2005), Welfare, Right and the State: A Framework for Thinking (2008), Politics without Reason: The Perfect World and the Liberal Ideal (2008), and The Capacity for Civic Engagement: Public and Private Worlds of the Self (2011).

1. Capital
2. The Disease of the Infinite
3. The Spirit of Capitalism
4. Creative Destruction
5. Political Consequences


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