Foretelling the End of Capitalism: Intellectual Misadventures Since Karl Marx

Harvard Univ. May 2020. 336p. ISBN 9780674919327. $35. BUS
Aimed at a general readership, this book from Boldizzoni (political science, Univ. of Helsinki; The Poverty of Clio: Resurrecting Economic History) looks at the prophecies of the end of capitalism over the past two centuries. The first six chapters outline the historical narrative of unfulfilled predictions from the 19th century to the present and reflect on the implications. In later chapters, the author discusses what is wrong with attempts at foretelling the future and considers the reasons for the persistence of capitalism. Starting in 1848, he examines the ideas of John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and other key thinkers, and studies events such as World War I, the 1929 Stock Market Crash, the Great Depression, the New Deal, post–World War II, and the effects on the intensification of state intervention in capitalist economies. Boldizzoni studies the thinking traps of forecasters, including human cognition limitations, theoretical flaws, and the Enlightenment mind-set of modern thinkers, finally asserting that capitalism will end. Includes bibliographical notes.
VERDICT An insightful study of capitalism and the “harbingers of doom” that have been part of its history. Faculty researchers, and students of economics and philosophy should find this informative and timely. Highly recommended.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month