The Trouble with Capitalism: An Enquiry into the Causes of Global Economic Failure

The Trouble with Capitalism: An Enquiry into the Causes of Global Economic Failure

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1848134223

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The recent collapse of the banking system and instability in the financial markets has dramatically shaken confidence in the global economic order. Is the current variant of 'free market' capitalism really sustainable? The Trouble With Capitalism - originally written, with remarkable prescience, in 1998 - anticipates such a development and explains the underlying economic fragility it has revealed. Rather than being merely a temporary blip in the march of capitalism, Shutt argues forcefully that the on-going crisis has arisen as a result of fundamental economic problems, stemming from the growing redundancy of both labour and capital since the 1970s. In doing so, he exposes the sham of the laissez faire prospectus, showing that state power and capital are increasingly being used to prop up capital while pretending that the aim is to roll back the frontiers of the state.

The implications of the author's startling conclusion (re-examined in a new foreword) - that the maximisation of profit must cease to be the main basis for allocating resources - are profound.



















to bolster failing financial institutions, particularly in the United States, as well as to sustain production and investment by other private-sector enterprises. At the same time any reversal of the personal tax cuts made in the 1980s would have been both unacceptable to the core constituency of the right and damaging to the credibility of governments which had but lately been insisting on the importance of cutting taxes to stimulate enterprise. The most telling political argument against such

bubbles that had been inflated since 1987 – an apparent attempt to explain the present financial crisis as something that had blown up out of the blue, if not quite an act of God. Such deliberate distortions of reality reflect a more general, and all too understandable, tendency on the part of the global establishment to try to ignore the longer-term factors behind the crisis. In particular they seek to divert attention from the chronic relative stagnation of the world economy since the 1970s,

equity and maximum economic efficiency – is described in a more detailed elaboration by the author of the likely features of a post-capitalist model, A World without Profit, to be published in 2010.) But while there are grounds for hoping that more rational principles may be starting to find favour with sections of informed opinion, there is (as noted above) depressingly little sign of any crack in the monolithic commitment of the political mainstream to the status quo based on serving

successful mass privatisation of most of the economy, the state has retained a large measure of de facto control of the corporate sector, both through equity stakes held directly by the big four banks in many privatised enterprises and through the investment funds which they set up to act as channels for the millions of individual share owners created by mass privatisation (the equivalent of mutual funds or investment trusts in the West). Consequently the pattern of ownership and control in the

where there are much tighter legal limits placed on the level of political funding – the growing number of scandals in recent years involving illegal, covert donations to political parties is evidence of a similar trend. At the same time the meteoric rise of the political public-relations and ‘lobbying’ industry is another indicator of the growing value attached by private business to winning political influence. Since it is noticeable that corporate political donations are often distributed

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