Henry Heller’s short account of the history of capitalism combines Marx’s economic and political thought with contemporary scholarship to shed light on the current capitalist crisis. It argues that capitalism is an evolving mode of production that has now outgrown its institutional and political limits.

The book provides an overview of the different historical stages of capitalism, underpinned by accessible discussions of its theoretical foundations. Heller shows that capitalism has always been a double-edged sword, on one hand advancing humanity, and on the other harming traditional societies and our natural environment. He makes the case that capitalism has now become self-destructive, and that our current era of neoliberalism may trigger a transition to a democratic and ecologically aware form of socialism.

chapter |10 pages


chapter 1|15 pages

Merchant capitalism

chapter 3|25 pages

Ascendant capitalism (1789–1980)

chapter 4|26 pages

Neoliberalism (1980–2018)

chapter 5|36 pages

Towards socialism