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December 18 , 2008

Capitalizing on Change

A Social History of American Business


Americans love "this year's model," relying on the "new" to be always "improved." Enthusiasm for the new, says Stanley Buder, is essential to American business, where innovation and change stoke the engines of economic energy. To really understand the history of business in America, he argues, we must understand the intertwining dynamics of social and business values.

In a history spanning over three hundred years, Buder examines the enveloping expansion of the market economy, the laggardly use of government to modify or control market forces, the rise of consumerism, the shifting role of small business, and much more. He concludes with the explosive development of business in the 1990s and its aftermath of crises and scandals. Along the way, he analyzes the ways American social values foster an entrepreneurial ethos and why the identification of change with progress provides a distinctive and provocative theme in American life.

Buder studies American business as not only an engine of wealth accumulation but also an important generator and reflector of American values. Capitalizing on Change is the first full-length business history in recent years to make this relationship clear.
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