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Publisher's Summary

In these 36 engaging lectures, Professor Muller takes you deep inside the perspectives on this most important and pervasive force. You'll gain fresh insights that will strengthen your understanding of capitalism's rich history, its fascinating proponents and opponents, and its startling impact on our world.

These lectures take you beyond economic analysis to look at how some of the greatest intellects have thought about capitalism and its moral, political, and cultural ramifications. Covering capitalism from its 17th-century beginnings to today's era of globalization, Professor Muller explores some wide-ranging questions. What effect does capitalism have on personal development? What about the seemingly unending variety of consumer goods made possible by capitalism? Do the facts support our tendency to think about capitalism as the economic system practiced in "free" countries? Or can capitalism exist in a wide variety of political systems? These are just a few of the many provocative and absorbing questions and issues you'll untangle here.

By placing capitalism in its full societal context, these lectures will enhance your ability to consider, discuss, and answer these and other critical questions - whatever your point of view. Genial and disarming, Professor Muller connects the dots from idea to idea, thinker to thinker, and helps you finally grasp the history and the concepts of this vital economic system, as well as its importance on the global economic stage and in your own life.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Jake
  • Port Hueneme, California, United States
  • 06-21-14

A great intellectual historical look at capitalism

Professor Muller exquisitely weaves the historical dialectic between the eminent thinkers of capitalism with the contexts surrounding it. He evenhandedly addresses each thinker and elucidates why each one was so influential. You will come away with a more nuanced view of capitalism after listening to this course. Leftists will move right and rightists will move left. Prof. Muller constantly intrigues with his knack for storytelling and explication of ideas, never allowing for a boring moment. Highly recommended.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Dazzling and Essential

This course is a juggernaut. Every chapter feels like a precious jewel has been revealed. The professor is a whirlwind and is able to delicately weave complex themes together. The substance and lessons of this course are indispensable to understanding the world we leave in, historically, politically, economically, culturally, philosophically, etc.

Bravo, a hundred times.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Deep look at Capitalistc thinking

Digs beneath the usually invoked capitalistic thinkers of Smith and Marx to other intellectuals over the years who have added to the dialogue of talking about Capitalism. The lectures also go beyond the economic and political impacts to discussions on the impact on family dynamics.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Excellent.

Profoundly interesting storytelling not only about capitalism but also history itself. I have started listening to this for the third time now. Filled with substance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic

If you could sum up Thinking about Capitalism in three words, what would they be?

Clear concise survey

What was one of the most memorable moments of Thinking about Capitalism?

Overview of Smith, Burke and Voltaire

What does Professor Jerry Z. Muller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Anticipation-- economics can be wearisome but the narration made it come alive

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

How poignant Marx and Marcuse can appear-- if you take them out of context.

Any additional comments?

I intend on listening to this lecture several times. I wish there was companion material

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great course

Very interesting survey of the great thinkers who have experienced different aspects and stages of commercial society. Excellent food for thought.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Worthwhile

Balanced and worthwhile. I highly recommend. Professor Muller is fantastic. Listen to it on 1.10x speed though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jon
  • Brooklyn, NY, United States
  • 12-26-17

Excellent!

A clear, fair, and thorough primer on the last “-ism” standing. Valuable perspectives and historical context for contemporary debates.

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  • Moebetta
  • Monterery Park, California
  • 10-11-17

Must Listen

You will get a good review of thought on the subject. You’ll want to listen to it several times. This is not a one and done book.

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This book... was really ha.... rd to listen.... to

Poor performance from narator. Odd ponctuation and stops. Read really slowly, had to put it on 1.5X in order to make it listenable in between wierd pause. Good content, bad narator

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  • Victor Gil López
  • 03-19-16

Just a bit too much on th right for my taste

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Depnding on what they are looking for. The author talks about the points of view of many clasic phylosophers and economists about capitalism but avoids dealing with contemporary issues I was more interested on like the inestability of the financial sector or how capitalism affects climate change. In my opinion the author is a bit too much on the right for my own taste.

Would you be willing to try another book from The Great Courses? Why or why not?

Yes, I listened to some before and I will do so in the future, possibly not in economics though.

What does Professor Jerry Z. Muller bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Nothing, this isn't conceived as a book but a series of lectures so it wouldn't work in any other way.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not much, it's quite factual.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • D. J. Wilkinson
  • 01-03-15

Brilliant tour of the thinking

A thought provoking course, which has completely changed the way I think about capitalism, what it is, what it does and the effects it has on us.
Highly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rob
  • 09-05-17

Absorbing and Informative

This series of lectures gave me exactly what I was looking for, a broad introduction to the history and philosophy of capitalism. Highly recommended for any looking to build a foundation of understanding from which to explore.

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  • Karol
  • 06-03-17

The best on Great Courses

This is my favourite course in the great courses series. I've listened to it two times from start to finish and use it as reference for my essays very often. It's absolutely essential for everyone interested in the topic of international political economy.

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  • Paulo Abelha Ferreira
  • 05-25-17

Illuminating

Prof. Muller is incredible at illuminating past thinkers' ideas about Capitalism.
This is really a course about how great thinkers have though about Capitalism.
I could not recommend it more.
Amazing

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-09-16

Great book!

Amazing review of the current economic system, it's social and philosophical footings and how was evolved the last 500 years. It tends to be rather soft to its critic on the negative implications to civilisation.

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  • D. J. Pritchard
  • 01-23-16

Thorough summation of 150 years economic thought

So easy to turn in an listen to chapter after chapter. Thoughtfully put together to give a very clear progression of how the philosophy of economics has developed over time. You can't help but come away from this with a profound understanding of the background to today's policies and difficulties.

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  • Sean
  • 01-10-16

Interesting and informative

One of the most interesting lecture series I've listened to. It explains the dynamism of capitalism and its impact on modern societies. Before listening to this I understood that a combination of capitalism and science had given us the world that we live in; now I understand how capitalism and the free market have driven the establishment of many of the basic rights we take for granted such as Universal suffrage, education, equality and the rule of law. One of the ideas that sticks in my mind is that whilst many types of political systems have tried to harness aspects of capitalism with varying success, all liberal democracies are capitalist in nature.
If you've an interest in the subject matter I highly recommend this exceptional lecture series.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-29-16

Capitalism explained without the literary politics

This is a balanced almost agnostic view of capitalism. It shies neither from rationales nor the dark sides of Capitalism as presented by Left and Right. Regardless of your persuasions this book will teach you something.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Juka
  • 04-01-18

really good critical analysis of capitalism

fantastic analysis oc the theory of capitalism without being biased towards any partocular ideology. a surprisingly enjoyable listen

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  • Leo T. Hogan
  • 01-25-18

Depth, breadth and impartiality

Jerry Muller's lectures on capitalism are outstanding. They are broad ranging and given with a degree of critical thinking and impartiality that is very refreshing . i hope he does more on another topic

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  • BookFan
  • 11-21-16

Great course

I really enjoyed this course.
As a fan of history there is great depth in details about each age of capitalism.

Looking at the opponents of capitalism and at some of the ages best thinkers provided excellent analysis and some interesting perspectives.

Jerry is a great lecturer and the course is excellent.