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With its roots in history and eyes on the future, this book traces the development of our economic society from the Middle Ages to the present, offering a balanced perspective of why our economy is the way it is and where it may be headed. It explores the catalytic role past economic trends and dynamics--particularly capitalism--have played in creating the present challenges we face, and offers suggestions on how we may deal with them most effectively in the future. Chapter topics include the economic problem, the premarket economy, the emergence of market society, the industrial revolution, the great depression, the rise of the public sector, modern capitalism emerges in Europe, the golden age of capitalism, the rise and fall of socialism, the globalization of economic life, and why some nations remain poor. For individuals interested in the economic history of the U.S.