The central idea in the ‘Evolution of Capitalism’ is that western society is archetypical of a radical change and gradual development of the capitalist system. This development is espoused by the emergence of a market system developer of industrial technology and asserting political limits on the economic machinery. Capitalism is loosely described as a system that emerges when the state is detached from the economic activity, although it is admitted that there can be no all-inclusive description of the concepts that influence it (Scott 2011).
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The book carries out a retrospective examination of the concept to figure out its origin and path of development. It compares modern capitalism to ex post factor systems that could appear to be structurally or functionally similar. The early systems, such as Egyptian and Roman rule, accumulated huge amounts of wealth as capitalists want to do. The early Egyptian and Roman people did it for the sake of glorifying their rulers (Scott 2011). On the other hand, modern capitalists are focused on amassing wealth through the application of many approaches. For example, some capitalists are keen on exploiting the poor in the community in order to achieve significant levels of wealth. Others have been shown to adopt focused investment avenues that enable them to attain wealth.
The revolutionary nature of capitalism is discussed as the writer explains how it was gradually achieved through years of bloody conflict in Europe. At that time, the technology factor contributed to the development of capitalism as pre-capitalist technology was gradually re-awaked, and exponentially developed. As a result, the output capacity of the various industries was improved significantly. Technology was a significant incentive for capitalism during the industrial and agrarian revolutions since people discovered that it could increase productivity a great deal and change their fortunes and economic status significantly.
Thus, people believed that the adoption of technology could help them to become rich. In addition, technology spawned specialisation that brought about the division of labour and this brought about a fragmented and hierarchical nature of work. While this improved the living standards of people, it also posed a serious threat since works stood the risk of having their skills become redundant because of technological inventions (Scott 2011). Thus, there is the political dimension of capitalism that implies that governments allow the economic factors an almost free rein and not intervene. However, the system appears to be getting complicated to handle. The same democratic process that did not require the state to be involved is now agitating for this intervention to keep the system in check.
From this reading, several factors about retrospective and contemporary capitalism were cleared up, especially because of the background information provided. For example, I used to imagine that the ancient Egyptians and Romans were the forerunners of capitalism due to their massive wealth and the seemingly capitalistic oppression of workers. Ultimately, capitalism is revealed as a system that was motivated by a variety of factors, the most instrumental being technology. This is understandable because, even in most societies today, technology appears to have a close relationship with the desire for wealth accumulation and materialism.
In addition, I have realised that capitalism is rapidly growing and evolving. In fact, the government is now being asked to get involved. Thus, this is evidence of the act that in the near future the dynamics of capitalism are likely to evolve considerably.
Scott, BR, 2011, Capitalism: Its origins and evolution as a system of government, Springer, New York, NY. Web.