Three new books for the PM library

April 5, 2012

Ben Fine , Alfredo Saad-Filho , Marco Boffo (2012), The Elgar Companion To Marxist Economics, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

This Companion takes stock of the trajectory, achievements, shortcomings and prospects of Marxist political economy. It reflects the contributors’ shared commitment to bringing the methods, theories and concepts of Marx himself to bear across a wide range of topics and perspectives, and it provides a testimony to the continuing purpose and vitality of Marxist political economy.

This volume will inform and inspire a new generation of students and scholars to become familiar with Marxist political economy from an enlightened and unprejudiced position, and to use their knowledge as both a resource and gateway to future study.

Includes also contributions by Samuel Knafo, George Comninel, Ellen M. Wood.

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Martijn Konings (2011), The development of American Finance, Cambridge: Cambridge University  Press.

Since the 1960s, scholars and other commentators have frequently announced the imminent decline of American financial power: excessive speculation and debt are believed to have undermined the long-term basis of a stable U.S.-led financial order. But the American financial system has repeatedly shown itself to be more resilient than such assessments suggest. This book argues that there is considerable coherence to American finance: far from being a house of cards, it is a proper edifice, built on institutional foundations with points of both strength and weakness. The book examines these foundations through a historical account of their construction: it shows how institutional transformations in the late nineteenth century created a distinctive infrastructure of financial relations and proceeds to trace the contradiction-ridden expansion of this system during the twentieth century as well as its institutional consolidation during the neoliberal era. It concludes with a discussion of the forces of instability that hit at the start of the twenty-first century.

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Ellen M. Wood (2012), Liberty and Property: A Social History of Western Political Thought from the Renaissance to Enlightenment, London: Verso.

From Machiavelli to Rousseau, reading theorists as responding to the conflicts of their time.
The formation of the modern state, the rise of capitalism, the Renaissance and Reformation, the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment have all been attributed to the “early modern” period. Nearly everything about its history remains controversial, but one thing is certain: it left a rich and provocative legacy of political ideas unmatched in Western history. The concepts of liberty, equality, property, human rights and revolution born in those turbulent centuries continue to shape, and to limit, political discourse today. Assessing the work and background of figures such as  Machiavelli, Luther, Calvin, Spinoza, the Levellers, Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau, Ellen Wood vividly explores the ideas of the canonical thinkers, not as philosophical abstractions but as passionately engaged responses to the social conflicts of their day.
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