Capitalism: concept, idea, image. Aspects of Marx's Capital today

‘The experience of our generation’, Walter Benjamin famously wrote in a note for his Arcades project during the 1930s, ‘is that capitalism will not die a natural death.’1 It is the experience of the generations reading this book that capitalism is unlikely to die any kind of death during their lifetimes, unless it is a death of all. Indeed, on the historical scale of transitions between modes of production, it is still only recently – a mere thirty years – that the first world-historically significant experiment with a non-capitalist political-economic system, in Russia and Eastern Europe, came to its dismal end; while the second was beginning to embrace an explicitly capitalistic economic form. (China began negotiations to join the World Trade Organization in 1986, although it was fifteen years before it was accepted, in 2001.)