There is no question that trying to compile a comprehensive list about the history of capitalism is a daunting, if not impossible, task. Thus, take what follows as a very small sliver of what is available. Admittedly, this list is skewed heavily towards North and South America (with a bit of Great Britain thrown in) as those are the areas I am most familiar with. One will also notice how studies of capitalism often go beyond state borders and are becoming increasingly global in scope. I and the editors at H-Grad welcome any additions you wish to leave in the comments.
Appleby, Joyce. The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.
Baucom, Ian. Specters of the Atlantic. Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.
Beckert, Sven “History of Capitalism,” in American History Now, ed. Foner and McGirr Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2011, pp. 314–335.
Bowles, Paul. Capitalism: A Short History of a Big Idea. Harlow, England: Pearson/Longman, 2007.
Buck-Morss, Susan. “Envisioning Capital: Political Economy on Display.” Critical Inquiry 21 (Winter 1995): 434-67.
Duggan, Lisa. The Twilight of Equality? Neoliberals, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2003.
Federici, Sylvia. Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation. New York: Autonomedia, 2004.
Friedman, Milton. Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1963.
Fulcher, James. Capitalism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Graeber, David. Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2012.
Graeber, David. Toward an Anthropological Theory of Value: The False Coin of Our Own Dreams. New York: Palgrave, 2001.
Graeber, David. "Turning Modes of Production Inside Out: Or, Why Capitalism is a Transformation of Slavery." Critique of Anthropology 26 (2006): 61-85.
Harvey, David. A Companion to Marx’s Capital. And A Companion to Marx’s Capital, Volume 2.
Harvey, David. The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010.
“Interchange: The History of Capitalism.” Journal of American History 101.2 (September 2014): 503-536.
Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Kocka, Jürgen. "Writing the History of Capitalism." Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 47 (Fall 2010): 7-24.
Lenin, Vladimir Illich. “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.”
Lipartito, Kenneth. “Connecting the Cultural and the Material in Business History.” Enterprise & Society 14 (December 2013): 686-704.
Marglin, Stephen. “What Do Bosses Do? The Origins and Functions of Hierarchy in Capitalist Production.” Review of Radical Political Economics6, no. 2 (July 1974): 60-112.
Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volumes 1-3.
Muller, Jerry Z. The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought. New York: Anchor Books, 2002.
Neal, Larry and Jeffrey Williamson, eds. The Cambridge History of Capitalism. 2 Volumes. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
- Note: There are many other “Cambridge History” volumes on specific areas of the world or thematic topics within capitalism. These, if not too out of date, are always a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with a topic.
Nkrumah, Kwame. Neocolonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism. London: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1965.
Piketty, Thomas. Capital in the Twenty First Century. Cambridge: MA, Belknap Press, 2014.
Polanyi, Karl. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time.
Rockman, Seth. “Review Essay: What Makes the History of Capitalism Newsworthy?” Journal of the Early Republic 34 (Fall 2014): 439-66.
Schumpeter, Joseph. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. New York: HarperPerennial, 1975.
Sklansky, Jeffrey. “The Elusive Sovereign: New Intellectual and Social Histories of Capitalism.” Modern Intellectual History 9 (April 2012): 233-48.
Sklansky, Jeffrey. “Labor, Money, and the Financial Turn in the History of Capitalism.” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 11 (Spring 2014): 23-46.
Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization. London: Verso, 1995.
Wallerstein, Immanuel. World Systems Analysis: An Introduction. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Sprit of Capitalism.
Williams, Raymond. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. London: Oxford University Press, 1983.
There are also a few useful reading groups or Institutes on the history of capitalism available on the web:
Dunlavy, Colleen A. “History of Capitalism.” http://www.historyofcapitalism.net/index.html
“History of Capitalism Initiative.” http://hoc.ilr.cornell.edu
“The History of Capitalism at the University of Georgia.” http://capitalism.uga.edu
“Program on The Study of Capitalism at Harvard University.” http://studyofcapitalism.harvard.edu/home
“Readings in Capitalism and History.” http://readingsincapitalismandhistory.tumblr.com (although this site has not been updated since March 2015)
Agnew, Jean Christophe. Worlds Apart: The Market and the Theater in Anglo-American Thought, 1550-1750. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Braudel, Fernand. Civilization and Capitalism: 15th-18th Century. Siân Reynolds, trans. London: Collins, 1981.
de Vries, Jan. “The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution.” Journal of Economic History 54 (June 1994): 249-270.
de Vries, Jan and Ad van der Woude, The First Modern Economy: Success, Failure, and Perseverance of the Dutch Economy, 1500-1815. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Duplessis, Robert S. Transitions to Capitalism in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Hobsbawn, Eric. The Age of Capital: 1848-1875. New York: Vintage Books, 1975.
Hobsbawm, Eric. The Age of Extremes, A History of the World: 1914-1991. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.
Landes, David S. The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
McKendrick, Neil, John Brewer, J.H. Plumb, eds. The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth-Century England. London: Europa Publications, 1982.
Poovey, Mary. Genres of the Credit Economy: Mediating Value in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Thompson, E.P. The Making of the English Working Class. Harmondsworth, UK: Pelican, 1968.
Thompson, E. P. “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism,” Past and Present 38 (Dec., 1967), pp. 56-97.
Wennerlind, Carl, Casualties of Credit: The English Financial Revolution, 1620-1720. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.
Abu-Lughod, Janet. Before European Hegemony: The World System AD 1250-1350. London: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Braudel, Fernand. Afterthoughts on Material Civilization and Capitalism. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977.
Chaudhuri, K.N. Trade and Civilization in the Indian Ocean: An Economic History from the Rise of Islam to 1750. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985.
Eichengreen, Barry. Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.
Fichter, James, So Great a Proffit: How the East Indies Trade Transformed Anglo-American Capitalism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.
Goldstone, Jack. “Efflorescences and Economic Growth in World History: Rethinking the "Rise of the West" and the Industrial Revolution.” Journal of World History 13 (2002): 323-379.
Grandin, Greg. Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2014.
Inikori, Joseph. Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Klein, Naomi. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. New York: Picador, 2007.
McCraw, Thomas K., ed. Creating Modern Capitalism. How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.
McNally, David. Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires, and Global Capitalism. Boston, MA: Brill, 2011.
Mintz, Sydney. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Viking, 1985.
Mitman, Gregg and Paul Erickson. “Latex and Blood: Science, Markets, and American Empire,” Radical History Review 107 (Spring 2010): 45-73.
O'Brien, Patrick. "European Economic Development: The Contribution of the Periphery." The Economic History Review. 35, no. 1 (February 1982): 1-16.
Overton, Mark. Agricultural Revolution in England: The Transformation of the Agrarian Economy, 1500-1850. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Parthasarathi, Prasannan. Why Europe Grew Rich and Asia Did Not: Global Economic Divergence, 1600-1850. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Pomeranz, Kenneth. “Political Economy and Ecology on the Eve of Industrialization: Europe, China, and the Global Conjecture.” American Historical Review 107 (April 2002): 425-446.
Smallwood, Stephanie. Saltwater Slavery. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.
Solow, Barbara L. and Stanley L. Engerman, eds. British Capitalism and Caribbean Slavery: The Legacy of Eric Williams. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Soluri, John. Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in Honduras and the United States. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2006.
Vilches, Elvira. New World Gold: Cultural Anxiety and Monetary Disorder in Early Modern Spain. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010.
White, Louise. “Cars Out of Place: Vampires, Technology, and Labor in East and Central Africa.” In Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World. Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler, eds. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997. 436-60.
Williams, Eric. Capitalism and Slavery.
Wong, R. Bin. “The Search for European Difference and Domination in the Early Modern World: A View from Asia,” American Historical Review 107 (April 2002): 447-469.
Woods, Ngaire. The Globalizers: The IMF, the World Bank, and their Borrowers. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007.
Adelman, Jeremy. Republic of Capital: Buenos Aires and the Legal Transformation of the Atlantic World. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.
Assadourian, Carlos Sempta. “The Colonial Economy: The Transfer of the European System of Production to New Spain and Peru.” Journal of Latin American Studies 24, (1992): 55-68.
Bakewell, P.J. Silver and Entrepreneurship in Seventeenth-Century Potosí: The Life and Times of Anthony López de Quiroga. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1988.
Bauer, Arnold J. Goods, power, history: Latin America's material culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Block, Kristen. Ordinary Lives in the Early Caribbean: Religion, Colonial Competition, and the Politics of Profit. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2012.
Cardoso, Fernando Henrique and Enzo Faletto. Dependency and Development in Latin America. Marjory Mattingly Urguidi, trans. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1979.
Grandin, Greg. Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Picador, 2009.
Green, Duncan. Silent Revolution: The Rise and Crisis of Market Economics in Latin America. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2003.
Gunder Frank, Andre. Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America: Historical Studies of Chile and Brazil. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969.
Kicza, John E. Colonial Entrepreneurs: Families and Business in Bourbon Mexico City. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1983.
O'Brien, Tom. The Century of U.S. Capitalism in Latin America. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1999.
Orlove, Benjamin, ed. The Allure of the Foreign: Imported Goods in Postcolonial Latin America. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1997.
Ortiz, Fernando. Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995.
Robinson, William. Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.
Sabato, Hilda. Agrarian Capitalism and the World Market: Buenos Aires in the Pastoral Age, 1840-1890. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1990.
Saldaña-Portillo, María Josefina. The Revolutionary Imagination in the Americas and the Age of Development. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.
Stern, Steve. “Feudalism, Capitalism, and the World-System in the Perspective of Latin America and the Caribbean.” The American Historical Review 93, no. 4 (October 1988): 829-872.
Striffler, Steve and Mark Moberg, eds. Banana Wars: Power, Production, and History in the Americas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.
Taussig, Michael. The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
Topik, Steven, Carlos Marichan, Zepher Frank, eds, From Silver to Cocaine: Latin American Commodity Chains and the Building to the World Economy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.
Tutino, John. Making a New World: Founding Capitalism in the Bajío and Spanish North America. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.
Appleby, Joyce. Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the 1790s. New York: New York University Press, 1984.
Appleby, Joyce. “The Vexed Story of Capitalism Told by American Historians,” Journal of the Early Republic 21 (2001): 1-18.
Balleisen, Edward. Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.
Baptist, Edward. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. New York: Basic Books, 2014.
Beckert, Sven. The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850-1896. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Boydston, Jeanne. Home and Work: Housework, Wages, and the Ideology of Labor in the Early Republic. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Brands, H.W. American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2010.
Breen, T. H., The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence. London: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Burgin, Angus. The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.
Bushman, Richard L. The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities. New York: Knopf, 1992.
Chandler, Jr., Alfred. Scale and Scope: The Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1994.
Chandler, Alfred D. The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1977.
Clark, Christopher. The Roots of Rural Capitalism: Western Massachusetts, 1780-1860. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990.
Cohen, Lizabeth. A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Post War America. New York: Knopf, 2003.
Cronon, William. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: W.W. Norton, 1991.
Dublin, Thomas. Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979.
Egerton, Douglas. “Markets Without a Market Revolution, Southern Planters and Capitalism.” The Journal of the Early Republic 16 (Summer, 1996): 207-221.
Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth and Eugene D. Genovese. Fruits of Merchant Capital: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.
Gilje, Paul. "The Rise of Capitalism in the Early Republic." Journal of the Early Republic 16 (Summer 1996): 159–81.
Gutman, Herbert, “Work, Culture, and Society in Industrializing America, 1815-1919,” American Historical Review 78, No. 3 (June, 1973), pp. 531-88.
Henretta, James A. The Origins of American Capitalism: Collected Essays. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1991.
Hoganson, Kristin. Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
Huston, James L. Securing the Fruits of Labor: The American Concept of Wealth Distribution, 1765-1900. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University, 1998.
Hyman, Louis. Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.
Hyman, Louis and Edward E. Baptist. American Capitalism: A Reader. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Johnson, Walter. “‘The Pedestal and the Veil: Rethinking the Capitalism/Slavery Question’.” Journal of the Early Republic 24 (Summer 2004): 299-308.
Johnson, Walter. River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.
Johnson, Walter. Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.
Kulikoff , Allan. The Agrarian Origins of American Capitalism. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1992.
Lamoreaux, Naomi. “Rethinking the Transition to Capitalism in the Early American Northeast,” Journal of American History 90 (2003): 437-61.
Larson, John Lauritz. The Market Revolution in America: Liberty, Ambition, and the Eclipse of the Common Good. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Leach, William. Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.
Levy, Jonathan. Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012.
Merrill, Michael. “The Anticapitalist Origins of the United States,” Review: Fernand Braudel Center, 13 (Fall 1990), 465-97.
Mihm, Stephen. A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men, and the Making of the United States. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.
Moreton, Bethany. To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010.
Ott, Julia. When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.
Phillips-Fein, Kim. Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade against the New Deal. New York: W. W. Norton, 2009.
Rockman, Seth. “The Future of Civil War Era Studies: Slavery and Capitalism.” http://journalofthecivilwarera.org/forum-the-future-of-civil-war-era-studies/the-future-of...
Rockman, Seth. Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
Rockman, Seth. “The Unfree Origins of American Capitalism.” In The Economy of Early America; Historical Perspectives and New Directions, Cathy Matson, ed. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006.
Rosenberg, Emily. Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and Cultural Expansion, 1890-1945. New York: Hill and Wang, 1982.
Rothenberg, Winifred B. From Market Places to a Market Economy: The Transformation of Rural Massachusetts, 1750-1850. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
Sellers, Charles E. The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Sklar, Martin J. The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism, 1890-1916: The Market, the Law, and Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
Taylor, Timothy. The Sounds of Capitalism: Advertising, Music, and the Conquest of Culture. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
Wilentz, Sean. Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class, 1788-1850. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
Zakim, Michael and Gary J. Kornblith, ed. Capitalism takes Command: The Social Transformation of Nineteenth Century America. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
Zunz, Olivier. Making America Corporate, 1870-1920. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1990.