Creating capitalism : the state and small business since 1945


Creating capitalism : the state and small business since 1945

Linda Weiss

(Explorations in social structures)

B. Blackwell, 1988

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Bibliography: p. [250]-268

Includes index



The rise of big business and the demise of small business has been the dominant trend of 20th-century capitalism. But what lies behind that trend and is it irreversible? Are big business economies necessarily the face of the future? This book shows that successful capitalism need not come in a large-scale package and that more than one form of capitalism is, and has been, possible. Its main argument is that the development of capitalism is inherently neutral, favouring no one particular economic outcome. What matters historically is the way states have inserted themselves in the economic process. Thus, to understand why, for example, a flourishing micro-capitalist sector has been able to expand and consolidate in Italy while the economies of Britain, France and Germany have pushed much further along the big business track, the book explores the way states, acting to maintain domestic order, defend national sovereignty or secure international position, have sought to generalize particular patterns of ownership and industrial organization. Creating Capitalism sheds important light on a series of key problems in modern social structure, from the social roots of fascism to the nature of Christian democracy, and its conclusions are of great political importance.


  • Part I Forms of Capitalism and the State: The Italian Case, 1945-1975
  • The Problem - Its Contours and Explanations The Petite Bourgeoisie on Trial
  • Patterns of State Support I - Bountiful but Bounded
  • Patterns of State Support II - Beyond Employment
  • The Social Project
  • The Internal Challenge. Part II The Creative State in Retrospect and Prospect
  • Giantism and Geopolitics
  • Re-creating Micro Capitalism. Appendices.

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