Cover: The Pricing of Progress: Economic Indicators and the Capitalization of American Life, from Harvard University PressCover: The Pricing of Progress in HARDCOVER

The Pricing of Progress

Economic Indicators and the Capitalization of American Life

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Product Details


$29.95 • £23.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674976283

Publication Date: 09/25/2017


368 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


Eli Cook’s groundbreaking new book, The Pricing of Progress: Economic Indicators and the Capitalization of American Life, traces how health, lives, and land came to be seen as ‘income-generating investments,’ a transformation that has not just shaped how we perceive the costs of catastrophes like the opioid epidemic (or how we market boutique medical care), but that also, Cook asserts, propelled the emergence of capitalism itself.—Adam Gaffney, The New Republic

Eli Cook poses fundamental moral questions with elegance and authority, illuminating how Americans came to conceive everything—including human beings and whole societies—as capital investments. His compelling and richly detailed account affords an enlightened understanding of how price became a synonym for value, and money became the measure of all things.—Jackson Lears, Rutgers University

An untold history of the origins of today’s economic indicators, like GDP, The Pricing of Progress offers a fresh account of the history of capitalism from the perspective of ‘capitalization.’ Written with verve, and brimming with brilliance and insight, this book is truly one of a kind.—Jonathan Levy, author of Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America

This boldly original and compelling book demonstrates the centrality to capitalist development of the fiercely contested process of capitalization. Cook richly reveals how land and labor, colonies and cities, farms and factories were transformed into financial assets valued according to their capacity to generate monetary profits. In its political urgency and relevance for the current era of financialization, The Pricing of Progress is a work deeply provocative and inspiring.—Jeffrey Sklansky, author of Sovereign of the Market: The Money Question in Early America

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