Capitalism, Alone

Capitalism, Alone

The Future of the System That Rules the World

Belknap Press, 2019 more...

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Eloquent
  • Engaging


Capitalism is today dominant throughout the world. But China shows that Western hopes of liberal democracy naturally following capitalist economic prosperity have not materialized. Professor Branko Milanovic takes on the broad, ambitious topic of global capitalism’s features and flaws, including growing wealth and rising inequality, and comes up with a number of original and convincing conclusions. His thought-provoking and articulate text makes for a noteworthy addition to current literature on the future of capitalism. 


The  world has largely adopted capitalism, but clear distinctions exist between “liberal capitalism” and “political capitalism.” 

Despite all the dissimilarities among countries and populations, most working-age adults around the world spend their waking hours trying to make money, as businesspeople or wage earners, in decentralized market economies with privately owned means of production. In other words, the world is now more or less a capitalist one. Globalization has delivered on its promises to many, and countries outside the West, mostly in Asia, have integrated into global supply chains. As a result, their incomes are converging with those of the developed world.

Although the street-level experience of capitalism is now nearly universal, large differences remain in countries’ political systems and their governments’ involvement in their economies. Nations with strong democratic traditions, where a separate judiciary upholds the rule of law, practice “liberal capitalism” (LC). Other countries, especially the ex- or nominally communist states, demand less defined democratic accountability of their political...

About the Author

Branko Milanovic is a professor at the City University of New York. He was formerly lead economist in the World Bank’s research department.

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