In this original and provocative book Ellen Meiksins Wood reminds us that capitalism is not a natural and inevitable consequence of human nature, nor is it simply an extension of age-old practices of trade and commerce. Rather, it is a late and localized product of very specific historical conditions, which required great transformations in social relations and in the human interaction with nature. This new edition has been substantially revised and expanded, with several new chapters. It contains extensive new material, especially on imperialism, anti-Eurocentric history, capitalism and the nation-state and the differences between capitalism and non-capitalist commerce. The author also traces links between the origin of capitalism and contemporary conditions such as 'globalization,' ecological degradation and the current agricultural crisis.