Embedded in an historical account of the development of U.S. capitalism up to the present day, this book gives the reader a thorough description of the major aspects of the U.S. economy, as well as a theoretical understanding of the overall economy. A particular focus of this book is how free markets work in capitalism and the interrelationship between markets and the government. Of particular interest in the current economic situation is the question of what can the government do to get the economy going again.

Underlying the standard economics text today is the fundamental belief that leaving markets as free as possible will lead to the ideal economy. Directly opposing this approach, this book takes a critical stance toward free markets. Rather than viewing markets as the ideal solution to almost all economic problems, this book argues that markets are not always the answer. On the contrary, they are often the problem, and must be corrected by government action. Related to this critical stance, and in a further departure from current economics texts, this book takes an explicitly Keynesian approach to the macro-economy. Rejecting the free market approach which dominates both micro- and macro-economics today, this book offers a fresh perspective on economics and the economy today.

part |2 pages

PART 1 The development of the capitalist system

chapter 1|14 pages

Economic systems

chapter 3|15 pages

Growth in the US economy, 1865–1914

chapter 4|12 pages


chapter 5|15 pages

The socialist challenge

part |2 pages

PART 2 Markets in a capitalist economy

chapter 6|18 pages


chapter 7|19 pages

Labor markets

chapter 8|18 pages


chapter 9|9 pages

Income distribution

chapter 10|14 pages

Personal income and wealth distribution

chapter 11|14 pages


part |2 pages

PART 3 Public policy: Issues and institutions

chapter 12|10 pages

Market failure and government regulation

chapter 13|18 pages

The economy and the environment

chapter 14|20 pages

Measuring the economy

chapter 15|9 pages

Business cycles and unemployment

chapter 16|11 pages

The theory of output and employment

chapter 17|14 pages

Accumulation and macroeconomic instability

chapter 19|17 pages

Money, banking, and the Federal Reserve

chapter 20|14 pages

International trade

part |2 pages

PART 4 Recent history and beyond

chapter 22|10 pages

The post-war economic boom