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Over the last hundred years the history of capitalism hardly supports the idea of a dynamic equilibrium between democracy and capitalism. The unprecedented triumph of global capitalism and its stronger power of transformation are changing the nature of political community and its institutions, transforming the conditions of democratic politics and governance. The writings collected in this volume present leading statements of theories of democracy and capitalism in Italy starting from Vilfredo Pareto who firstly focused on the transformation of democracy into a plutocracy in which vested interests use the government as a tool for their own profit, until Norberto Bobbio who expressed a strong defence of democracy and a deep critique of capitalism. As Marx, Weber, and Schumpeter-from different perspectives-have pointed out capitalism rather then just an economic mode of organization, is a 'mentality', a 'social logic', a 'form of living', that influences and reshapes political structures, and culture. The globalized economic order is challenging the foundations and political principles upon which liberal democracy is based. Global markets have unleashed economic forces that are becoming too powerful for democratic institutions to control. Even if the formal elements of democracy still survive, the 'government by the people, for the people' is declining; elections, debates, parties, are evacuated, and bypassed by new, less accountable processes.
Author's best-known and most controversial study relates the rise of a capitalist economy to the Puritan belief that hard work and good deeds were outward signs of faith and salvation.
The debate on literature and the arts provoked by the Italian neoavant-garde (neoavanguardia) is undoubtedly one of the most animated and controversial the country has witnessed from World War II to the present. Comprising the period between the late 1950s and the late 1960s, the phenomenon of the neoavanguardia involved key writers, critics, and artists, both as insiders - Sanguineti, Balestrini, Guglielmi, Eco, and others - and adversaries such as Pasolini, Calvino, and Moravia. In The New Avant-Garde in Italy - the first book in English to document the movement - John Picchione's objective is twofold: to provide a comprehensive analysis of the theoretical tenets that inform the works of the neoavanguardia and to show how they are applied to the poetic practices of its authors. The neoavanguardia cannot, Picchione argues, be defined as a movement with a unified program expressed in the form of manifestos or shared theoretical principles. It experiences irreconcilable internal conflicts that are explored as a split between two main blocs - one that is tied to the project of modernity, the other to post-modern aesthetic postures. This study suggests that some of the contentious views proposed by the neoavanguardia anticipated a wide range of issues that continue to be significant and pressing to this day.

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