Cover 9781785900204

Capitalism has lifted millions out of poverty, transforming living standards and creating prosperity on a breathtaking scale. And yet, capitalism is unloved. Voices compete to point out the flaws in the system that allow increasingly powerful elites to grab an ever larger share of our collective wealth.

In this incisive, clear-sighted guide, award-winning Financial Times journalist John Plender explores the paradoxes and pitfalls inherent in this extraordinarily dynamic mechanism – and in our attitudes to it. Taking us on a journey from the Venetian merchants of the Renaissance to the gleaming temples of commerce in 21st-century Canary Wharf, Plender shows us our economic creation through the eyes of philosophers, novelists, poets, artists and divines.

Along the way, he delves into the ethics of debt; reveals the truth about the unashamedly materialistic artistic giants who pioneered copyrighting; and traces the path of our instinctive conviction that entrepreneurs are greedy, unethical opportunists, while manufacturing is innately virtuous.

Thoughtful, eloquent and above all compelling, Capitalism is a remarkable contribution to the enduring debate.


'It [Capitalism] does a better job of bringing together all the key issues facing today’s global economy than any other book I’ve read... a delight to read.'

Tim Montgomerie, The Times

'A superbly erudite excursion through the theory and practice of market economies down the ages.'

Dominic Lawson, The Sunday Times

‘In this thoughtful and stimulating intervention, John Plender [...] offers a tour d’horizon of the debate, enlivened by a deep knowledge of the global economy and an interest in history, together with an open-minded willingness to place capitalism on the scales of justice and see which way they tip.’

David Priestland, Financial Times

'John Plender is one of capitalism's more thoughtful observers. His erudition and lifelong curiosity come together beautifully in this wise and wide-ranging book.'

Stephanie Flanders

'Plender is neither dogmatic nor prescriptive; if you like to read something that furnishes ideas for debate, then this book is for you.'

Richard Walker, CapX

'[John Plender] approaches the quandaries of capitalism with a shrewd eye for detail.'

The Economist
Show more

Share this book

Buy this book

  • Paperback, 352 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785900204
  • 3 May 2016
  • £10.99

not available
  • eBook
  • ISBN: 9781849549578
  • 28 July 2015
  • £8.99

About our eBooks

Similar titles:

The New Snobbery
The Good, the Bad and the Greedy
The Corruption of Capitalism