[Marxism] Debunking the Capitalist Cowboy | Boston Review

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Apr 4 06:43:04 MDT 2019

Capitalism, like the United States itself, has a mythology, and for five 
decades one of its central characters has been the nineteenth-century 
maverick cigarette entrepreneur, James B. Duke. Duke’s risk-taking 
investment in the newfangled machine-made cigarette, so the story goes, 
displaced the pricey, hand-rolled variety offered by his stodgy 
competitors. This, in turn, won Duke control of the national, and soon 
global, cigarette market. Repeated ad nauseam in business and history 
journals, high school and university curricula, popular magazines, and 
websites, the story has taught that disruptive innovation drives 
capitalist progress.


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