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Competition and conflict are intrinsic features of modern societies, inequality is persistent, and booms and busts are recurrent outcomes throughout capitalist history. State intervention modifies these patterns but does not abolish them. My book is an attempt to show that one can explain these and many other observed patterns as results of intrinsic forces that shape and channel outcomes. Social and institutional factors play an important role, but at the same time, the factors are themselves limited by the dominant forces arising from “gain-seeking” behavior, of which the profit motive is the most important.