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Translated by James G. Colbert Why is it that in the West and only in the West there has been a transition from a static to a self-propulsive economy? Through what combination of circumstances has a modern industrial society come into being? What combination of circumstances has made possible the global expansion of Europe? Luciano Pellicani answers these questions by showing first of all the sterile and misleading character of the two main theories which have hiterto dominated the debate concerning the genesis of capitalism: Marx' theory of original accumulation and Weber's theory of the Protestant ethic. Subsequently, using the methods of comparative marcrosociology, Pellicani develops a hypothesis originally entertained by both Marx and Weber, whereby the mystery of capitalist society is solved in terms of collective subjects, structural factors and historical conditions that triggered the mechanisms of a permanent capitalist revolution. The result is a fascinating reconstruction of the extraordinary adventure which led Europe to the Great Transformation and, through it, the construction of a qualitatively new kind of civilization, predicated on ratio, acquisitive-competitive individualism and experimentation in all fields a civilization exhibiting an extraordinary expansionist power and, because of it, inherently imperialistic, whose driving institution has been, and remains, the market.