What is capitalism? Is capitalism the same everywhere? Is there an alternative? The word 'capitalism' is one that is heard and used frequently, but what is capitalism really all about, and what does it mean? The book begins by addressing basic issues such as 'what is capital?' and discusses the history and development of capitalism through three detailed and absorbing case studies. It also looks at issues such as globalization and the current ecological crises, and whether there are viable alternatives, arguing that the way forward is to take seriously the widely divergent variations within capitalism.