Conceptualizing “Capitalism” (2011)

  • Claus OffeEmail author
Part of the Ausgewählte Schriften von Claus Offe book series (ASCO, volume 1)


“Capitalism” has been used, since the early 20th century, as a concept which captures the structure and dynamic of a particular historical formation of economy, state and society the beginnings of which first emerged, since the late middle ages, in southern and later in the north western parts of Europe (Braudel 1985; Sombart 1916) and which has since then been spreading to virtually all parts of the globe. Antonyms to “capitalism” include subsistence economy, feudalism, socialism, and slave economy. “Third World” developing societies with their “emerging economies” (also called “peripheral capitalism”, Amin 1976) contain insular capitalist patterns in their economy without thereby becoming capitalist societies.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albert, M. (1993). Capitalism vs. capitalism: how America’s obsession with individual achievement and short-term profit has led it to the brink of collapse. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows.Google Scholar
  2. Amin, S. (1976). Unequal Development: An Essay on the Social Formations of Peripheral Capitalism. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  3. Baran, R. L., & Sweezy, P. M. (1967). Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order. New York.Google Scholar
  4. Barber, B. R. (2007). Consumed. How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Beckert, J. (2002). Beyond the Market. The Social Foundations of Economic Efficiency. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bell, D. (1976). The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  7. Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). The new spirit of capitalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  8. Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (1986). Democracy and Capitalism: Property, Community, and the Contradictions of Modern Social Thought. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  9. Boyer, R., & Saillard, Y. (Eds.). (2002). Régulation Theory: The State of The Art. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Braudel, F. (1985). The Wheels of Commerce: Civilization and Capitalism, 15th – 18th Century, Volume 2. London: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  11. Eyal, G., Szelényi, I., & Townsley, E. R. (1998). Making capitalism without capitalists: class formation and elite struggles in post-communist Central Europe. London, New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  12. Friedman, M. (1962). Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hall, P. A., & Soskice, D. W. (Eds.). (2001). Varieties of capitalism: the institutional foundations of comparative advantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hardin, R. (2007). The Systemic Anticulture of Capitalism. In V. Nee & R. Swedberg (Eds.), On capitalism (pp. 55 – 62). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hirschman, A. O. (1977). The Passions and the Interests Political Arguments for Capitalism before Its Triumph. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Jessop, B. (2002). The Future of the Capitalist State. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lindblom, C. E. (1982). The Market as Prison. The Journal of Politics, 44(2), 324 – 336.Google Scholar
  18. Marx, K. (1976). Capital Volume 1. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  19. Moore, B. J. (1978). Injustice. The Social Bases of Obedience and Revolt. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  20. O’Connor, J. (1971). The Fiscal Crisis of the State. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  21. Offe, C. (1983). Competitive Party Democracy and the Keynesian Welfare State: Factors of Stability and Disorganization. Policy Sciences, 15(3), 225 – 246.Google Scholar
  22. Polanyi, K. (1944). The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  23. Przeworski, A. (1990). The State and the Economy under Capitalism. Chur: Harwood Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  24. Purdy, D. (1988). Social Power and the Labor Market. London: Macmillan Education.Google Scholar
  25. Rueschmeyer, D. (1986). Power and the Division of Labor. Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Schonfield, A. (1965). Modern Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Sennett, R. (2005). The Culture of the New Capitalism. Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Sombart, W. (n. d.). Der moderne Kapitalismus. Historisch-systematische Darstellung des gesamteuropäischen Wirtschaftslebens von seinen Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart. München: dtv.Google Scholar
  29. Standing, G. (2009). Work After Globalization: Building Occupational Citizenship. London: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  30. Streeck, W. (2009). Re-Forming Capitalism. Institutional Change in the German Political Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Weber, M. (1930). The Protestant Ethic and “The Spirit of Capitalism.” London & Boston: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  32. Williamson, O. E. (1998). Transaction Cost Economics: How It Works; Where It is Headed. De Economist, 146(1), 23 – 58.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Humboldt-Universität Berlin und Hertie School of GovernanceBerlinDeutschland

Personalised recommendations