Capitalism is central to our understanding of contemporary ecomic and political life and yet what does it really mean? If, as has w been shown to be the case, capital and property rights existed in pre-modern and pre-capitalist societies, what is left of our understanding of capitalism? Steven Marks' provocative new book calls into question everything we thought we knew about capitalism, from the word's very origins and development to the drivers of Western ecomic growth. Ranging from the Middle Ages to the present, The Information Nexus reveals that the truly distinctive feature of capitalism is business's drive to acquire and analyze information, supported by governments that allow unfettered access to public data. This new interpretation of capitalism helps to explain the rise of the West, puts our current information age into historical perspective, and provides a benchmark for the comparative assessment of ecomic systems in today's globalized environment.
Steven Marks is Professor of History at Clemson University, South Carolina. He has written books and articles on Russian economic and cultural history, all with a comparative global focus, including How Russia Shaped the Modern World (2003), on the international reception of Russian ideas, and Road to Power (1991), on the creation of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The Information Nexus is the summation of his thinking on world economic history and the history of capitalism, subjects he has taught for more than twenty years. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 1988.