Reason TV: The Relentless Revolution - Joyce Appleby on the History of Capitalism

"Exploitation is not exclusively capitalist, but wealth creation is." So says Joyce Appleby, professor emerita at UCLA and author of the new book, The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism.

Although she criticizes certain aspects of capitalism, Appleby credits it for producing countless marvels of the modern world. "If you want this level of enjoyment," says Appleby, "Science, the arts, food, transportation, information—then you have to realize what's generating the wealth to create it."

Reason.tv's Ted Balaker sat down with one of our nation's most accomplished historians to discuss the history of capitalism, how capitalism stacks up against competing systems, and why Americans should root for a wealthy China.

Approximately 8.00 minutes.

Interview by Ted Balaker; shot by Paul Detrick, Hawk Jensen and Alex Manning; edited by Detrick.

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  • The Gobbler||

    We need to get away from the word capitalist.

    It's free enterprise.

  • The Gobbler||

    Seriously, who's gonna say they're opposed to free enterprise?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: The Gobbler,

    Seriously, who's gonna say they're opposed to free enterprise?

    Mediocre and inadequate assholes who are unproductive and envious - you know, leftists.

  • Les||

    Or Republicans who support the War on Drugs and no-bid contracts and farm subsidies. You know, hypocrites.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Les,

    Or Republicans who support the War on Drugs and no-bid contracts and farm subsidies. You know, hypocrites.

    +1

  • Wegie||

    Les and Old mexican +5 apiece.

  • A is Awesome||

    Or people could stop pretending like capitalism is a bad thing. Or that the government is allowed to play too!

  • cynical||

    Nah, separation of business and state.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Hell no. Free enterprise sounds too timid about the idea of profit to me. Capitalism is a fantastically accurate and unapologetic word for the most beautiful politico-economic system in the history of mankind. People just need to grow some balls and start defending it.

  • Old Mexican||

    Although she criticizes certain aspects of capitalism, Appleby credits it for producing countless marvels of the modern world.

    Yes, I also criticize (in the same way) certain aspects of evolution because it did not lead to a world with beautiful unicorns, but besides that, I credit it for countless other wonders...

    And yet you guys take this person seriously . . . shame on you.

  • The Gobbler||

    White House Science Czar Says He Would Use ‘Free Market’ to ‘De-Develop the United States’

    From CNS News: In a video interview this week, White House Office of Science and Technology Director John P. Holdren told CNSNews.com that he would use the “free market economy” to implement the “massive campaign” he advocated along with Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich to “de-develop the United States.”

    In his role as President Barack Obama’s top science and technology adviser, Holdren deals with issues ranging from global warming to health care.

    “A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States,” Holdren wrote along with Paul and Anne H. Ehrlich in the “recommendations” concluding their 1973 book Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.

    “De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation,” Holdren and the Ehrlichs wrote.

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/75388

  • Old Mexican||

    “De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation,” Holdren and the Ehrlichs wrote.

    The realities of ecology? I thought ecology was the name of a certain science.

    The above quote should tell anyone with an ounce of brain that Holdren knows nothing about economics, the economy or how people make choices.

  • Wegie||

    ...or how to get his head out of his ass.

  • Apogee||

    De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation,

    Let me guess - Taxes and regulation can implement these extraordinary ideas - along with a tidy profit for those in charge.

  • BlueBook||

    That looks pretty good in HD. I think Balaker & Co. are improving.

  • ||

    All I want to know is what is the name of the song at the end of this video?

  • clickwhistle||

    @ El Duderino - The song is "21st Century" by Plunkett

  • ||

    Thanks!

  • ||

    So I can buy it.

  • ||

    I'm not sure I agree with Joyce concerning exploitation. Maybe my understanding of capitalism is a little off, but capitalism thrives off individual choices, so if someone chooses to work in a factory, then how are they being exploited?

    I understand that there have been and still are some circumstances where work in a certain factory is really the only choice for some, but it is still a choice. Also, as Joyce indicated, there are times in history where "exploitation" may be more prevalent, but these times are more like growing pains than permanent conditions. If a person is in a situation where they may be "exploited," then how much of that situation is the result of their personal life decisions? How much of their situation can we attribute to government regulation gone a bit too far? Not saying that "exploitation" doesn't exits, but really, if we are going to lay all of the blame on capitalism, then we are being disingenuous.

    To me exploitation can only exist where free choice is suppressed by force. That force may not necessarily be immediate, but rather structural. But this structural violence can only live where individuals are not free to walk away because obligations are imposed upon them that they cannot decline. While slavery is the common example of the antithesis of economic liberty, things like serfdom and indentured servitude are also violations of the same freedom, yet rarely mentioned when discussing economics prior to the renaissance.

    The reason why I dont believe that capitalism causes exploitation is that people can leave, they can go elsewhere when working conditions are not ideal, or they can accept their conditions -- it is their choice. I am not saying moving away is easy, it is not. But the reasons people would cite that they cannot move away have more to do with their personal choices than their employers. As long as there is economic and individual liberty, exploitation cannot exist.

  • milo bix||

    He understands them fine. He thinks he should be making the choices. Its a power grab.

  • Max||

    Reason is so good at finding stuff that confirms everything it believes. But it's really very boring.

  • ||

    I love Capitalism, not because of its' economic meaning, but because the word is so phonetically beautiful.

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