Capitalizing on Change

A Social History of American Business

By Stanley Buder

556 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 13 illus., notes, index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5422-5
    Published: February 2019
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-8980-0
    Published: March 2009
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7720-8
    Published: March 2009

Luther H. Hodges Jr. and Luther H. Hodges Sr. Series on Business, Entrepreneurship, and Public Policy

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit
Americans love "this year's model," relying on the "new" to be always "improved." Enthusiasm for the new, says Stanley Buder, is essential to American business, where innovation and change stoke the engines of economic energy. To really understand the history of business in America, he argues, we must understand the intertwining dynamics of social and business values.

In a history spanning over three hundred years, Buder examines the enveloping expansion of the market economy, the laggardly use of government to modify or control market forces, the rise of consumerism, the shifting role of small business, and much more. He concludes with the explosive development of business in the 1990s and its aftermath of crises and scandals. Along the way, he analyzes the ways American social values foster an entrepreneurial ethos and why the identification of change with progress provides a distinctive and provocative theme in American life.

Buder studies American business as not only an engine of wealth accumulation but also an important generator and reflector of American values. Capitalizing on Change is the first full-length business history in recent years to make this relationship clear.

About the Author

Stanley Buder is professor emeritus of history at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is author of Pullman: An Experiment in Industrial Order and Community Planning and Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the Modern Community.
For more information about Stanley Buder, visit the Author Page.


"Makes a good case that understanding business history is essential to understanding American history. . . . Recommended."--Choice

"A sweeping synthesis of American business history. . . . Deserves to be widely read and discussed, particularly at this moment in our history."--Enterprise & Society

"Synthesizes an extensive array of secondary sources into a judicious, accessibly written survey of American business. . . . Provid[es] a wealth of information and insight and giving readers a fine overview of the broad sweep of American business history."--Journal of American History

"Do you love history? Do you enjoy business analysis? How about reflecting on social mores? Throw in a healthy dash of political drama and you've created the multiple layers of Capitalizing on Change. . . . Buder makes the intertwining dynamics of our 300 years of history so very readable."--Better Investing

"This sweeping survey from colonial times to the summer of 2008 rejuvenates the theme of U.S. exceptionalism with a decisive and persuasive analysis. What made the nation so globally distinctive was a deep-seated entrepreneurial culture. Stanley Buder champions the individuals who drove the business system forward, from Ben Franklin to Bill Gates."--Edwin J. Perkins, University of Southern California, author of Wall Street to Main Street: Charles Merrill and Middle-Class Investors