The Return of Merchant CapitalismLichtenstein, Nelson - University of California, Santa Barbara
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Tisch Hall Room 1014
Exemplified by the rise to commercial power and political influence of the Wal-Marts and other transnational retailers of our own time, the political economy of 21st century merchant capitalism echoes that of the antebellum era when the merchant traders and wholesalers of Boston, New York, and Liverpool also occupied a strategically vital locale in the world economy. Now, as then, the manufacturing enterprise stands in a subordinate relationship to that of the merchant; commodity-like products are traded and sold on a global basis; and labor from the new “workshops of the world” is often squeezed, sweated, mobile, and unfree.
Introduction by Ron Suny, Director of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies
Dr. Lichtenstein is Professor of History and the director of the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His latest book is The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business, Picador Press
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