The very term “capitalism” necessarily pulls our attention upwards, toward those who own and deploy the thing at the core of the term: namely “capital.” It is therefore so easy and so normal to see capitalism from the top down, and to tell its story as one of the rise and fall of particular capitalists, of particular capitalist economies, even of particular capitalist classes. We ourselves have done this at least twice in this volume already: tracing the emergence of a combined but uneven global capitalist economy by discussing the relative strengths of particular capitalist classes in different national contexts; and explaining and characterizing the role of the Russian and Chinese communist parties as modern - izing agencies standing in for (actually substituting themselves for) missing capitalist middle classes of the more conventional kind. If we were to stop now, you might be forgiven for thinking that the only social actors in play in the story of capitalism were middle classes (bourgeoisies as the French would have it) and the other pre-capitalist dominant classes (aristocracies of various kinds) whose power those middle classes ultimately eroded.