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How Will Capitalism End?: Essays on a Failing System

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | How Will Capitalism End?: Essays on a Failing System.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Wolfgang Streeck(Author)

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In How Will Capitalism End? the acclaimed analyst of contemporary politics and economics Wolfgang Streeck argues that capitalism is now in a critical condition. Growth is giving way to secular stagnation; inequality is leading to instability; and confidence in the capitalist money economy has all but evaporated. Capitalisms shotgun marriage with democracy since 1945 is breaking up as the regulatory institutions restraining its advance have collapsed, and after the final victory of capitalism over its enemies no political agency capable of rebuilding them is in sight. The capitalist system is stricken with at least five worsening disorders for which no cure is at hand: declining growth, oligarchy, starvation of the public sphere, corruption and international anarchy. In this arresting book Wolfgang Streeck asks if we are witnessing a long and painful period of cumulative decay: of intensifying frictions, of fragility and uncertainty, and of a steady succession of normal accidents.

“Streeck’s title question—though never answered—opens a window onto the conflict between capitalism and democracy in the neoliberal era. That such a conflict exists is no surprise in Brazil, and still hidden to many in the United States, but a rude and inescapable shock to those who grew up with the comfortable illusions and utopian hopes of post-war Europe.” – James Galbraith, author of The End of Normal“Neoliberalism continues to delimit political choice across the globe yet it is clear that the doctrine is in severe crisis. In Wolfgang Streeck’s powerful new book How Will Capitalism End? Streeck demonstrates that the maladies afflicting the world—from secular stagnation to rising violent instability—herald not just the decline of neoliberalism, but what may prove to be the terminal phase of global capitalism.” – Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism“At the heart our era’s deepening crisis there lies a touching faith that capitalism, free markets and democracy go hand in hand. Wolfgang Streeck’s new book deconstructs this myth, exposing the deeply illiberal, irrational, anti-humanist tendencies of contemporary capitalism.” – Yanis Varoufakis, author of And the Weak Suffer What They Must?“An important and stimulating book. It is especially interesting in the light of fashionable preoccupations with secular stagnation, the march of robots and the lamentable performance of most leading economies since the onset of the financial crisis.” – William Keegan, author of Mr Osborne’s Economic Experiment“Streeck writes devastatingly and cogently … How Will Capitalism End? provides not so much a … forecast as a warning.” – Martin Wolf, Financial Times“As the economic gloom deepens to the pitch black night of geopolitical crisis, in the economics departments of the world there can still be heard the confident chuckle: "but capitalism always survives". Wolfgang Streeck's book How Will Capitalism End? An extended riff on the possibility of the mainstream economists being wrong. Streeck synthesises the various strands of left crisis theory into a convincing proposal” – Paul Mason, Guardian Books of the Year 2016“How Will Capitalism End? offers a powerful prognosis that predicts that the system will suffer a lingering death rather than go out with a bang...there are so many startling formulations of great analytic power in this book that it merits wide circulation in these troubled times.” – Morning Star“The most interesting person around today on the subject of the relationship between democracy and capitalism” – Christopher Bickerton, University of Cambridge“Democratic capitalism is in bad shape. The crisis of 2007-09 and subsequent election of Donald Trump demonstrate that. In this book, German sociologist Streeck argues that capitalism is doomed, as many have before. But he does not believe it will be replaced by something better. Instead a new Dark Ages lies ahead.” – Financial Times [Best Economics Books 2016]“The most interesting person on the most urgent subject of our times” – Aditya Chakrabortty, Guardian“This collection will be at the centre of social research for years to come” – Times Higher Education [Books of 2016]“Streeck has become one of Europe's most sophisticated and pessimistic left-wing Euroskeptics...[his] criticism of the eurozone is powerful.” – Jamie Martin, Bookforum

4.3 (7954)
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Book details

  • PDF | 272 pages
  • Wolfgang Streeck(Author)
  • Verso Books (8 Nov. 2016)
  • English
  • 7
  • Society, Politics & Philosophy

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Review Text

  • By Marc Yves Kassamba on 23 May 2017

    Book review: How will capitalism end? (2016). Wolfgang StreeckThe Author: Wolfgang Streeck is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Social Research and Professor of Sociology at the University of Cologne.In this book published in 2016 the German author makes a detailed study as well as a diagnostic of contemporary capitalism and its relationship with democracy. The study is based mainly on the case of OECD’s countries. The book is presented in the form of collection of essays from past papers. Documented with graphs, empirical evidence as well as reference to other authors such as Karl Polanyi and so on.Streeck highlights the dichotomy between Democracy and Capitalism. According to Streeck the twos are linked but have differing requirement for their existence. He explains how capitalism needs an opponent or a counter movement in order to thrive. The system is being the victim of its own success by having defeated all its opponents. Therefore, given its internal contradictions it will follow its natural course and implode. Streeck does not offer any alternative as a replacement. Here are his main arguments: Streeck contends the Capitalism system has been in crisis since the 1970s with declining growth, growing inequality, unemployment and rising debt. Solutions to solve the problem so far have failed. He gives the example of the Central bank’s policy of quantitave easing which has increased the overall debt in the OECD zone in return for the introduction of austerity to get rid of the debt. There has not been a viable solution so far and the system is running out of options.Streeck argues that the capitalism system has defeated its opponents (Socialism, Trade Unions, and elected politicians). It’s needed them to thrive in adversity, now that they are no longer there to challenge it, it will simply peter out due to its own internal problems and contradictions.Streeck contends that in the Neo liberal economy the market dictates everything thus elected politicians have lost their power. They are there just to serve the social not the economics. The big corporations, internationals institutions and central banks have taken over, ergo, rendered democracy void of content.Finally Streeck argues that capitalism is in a critical condition and the main problems are stagnation in the economy, inequality leading to instability as well as lack of confidence in the system.My only criticism is that Streeck offers an extremely too pessimistic outlook of capitalism in OECD’s countries ignoring the likes of India, the African continent and China, as we know from empirical evidence that the capitalism system is very resilient.The empirical evidence and critical analysis; are thorough, well researched and germane, ergo, offering better clarity. Overall the book is extremely informative as it tells us where we started form, where we are and where we are heading.

  • By møaksey on 11 April 2017

    A rather heavy book of essays but a good one.

  • By D. M. James on 14 January 2017

    This book offers timely insight into the causes of the interlinked economic, social and political crises. It presents a perspective quite different to the one we're told by politicians, the media and the education system, which makes it particularly valuable. The argument is subtle and complex but well supported by evidence, and does not require specialist knowledge to understand. Some of most striking points are as follows:1. Capitalism lurches from one crisis to another and is running out of options for remaining a viable economic system. The neoliberal ideology that has dominated for the past 30 years has covered up the inherent tensions and contradictions of capitalism.2. "OECD capitalism" has been on a crisis trajectory since the 1970s, with three major trends: declining growth, growing inequality and rising debt. These trends are mutually reinforcing and no solution is in sight.3. We are entering a period of "deep indeterminacy and multi-morbidity". For the decline of capitalism to continue no revolutionary alternative is required; it will simply collapse due to its own internal problems and contradictions.4. One of the current problems for capitalism is how to convert increasingly insecure workers into confident consumers - a problem that is spreading. Following the replacement of the working class by technology, the same is now happening to the middle class by information technology, undermining the very carriers of neo-capitalist and neoliberal lifestyle (careerism-cum-consumerism). There is nothing left to prevent the accelerated displacement of labour.5. The neoliberal social order results in "under-socialised individualism", making people liable to be drawn into "repressive-identitarian collectivism".6. Capitalism and democracy were compatible for only a short period: the 30 years after World War Two, an era of economic growth within national economies facing a common external threat (communism). Capitalism's success was always dependent on countervailing forces (trade unions, an interventionist state, regulation) that limited it, but those forces have been more or less destroyed by neoliberalism.7. Democracy has become irrelevant to the political economy, leading to the birth of "post-democracy" (decision-making being removed from the political arena altogether). "Now states are located in markets rather than markets in states". Moreover, the global financial industry's provision of liquidity establishes control over national governments. The large-scale migration from politics to markets has hollowed out the public sphere, undermining public interest in politics, such that whatever political interest or activity remains tends to be not for but against something.8. We are entering an "Interregnum": capitalism is disintegrating from within, with no successor approaching, and the incumbent management is clueless about how to restore stability. Equally the opposition has no idea how to replace it. The end is a process (not an event) marked by proliferating and unresolvable crises.9. Individual resilience in the system (adaptability to the conditions of neoliberalism) undermines collective resistance to it. Networks of "users" replace communities of citizens (= also part of "post-democracy").10. The crisis of capitalism is so pervasive that it affects the whole social order and way of life "dependent on the uninterrupted progress of private capital accumulation".The (German) author is also highly critical of the current trajectory of the EU. The "European consolidation state", modelled in certain respects on the US, though perhaps going further, is forcing national economies and democracies to be "market-conforming" (Merkel's phrase). The politics of the consolidation state protects markets from the vagaries of democratic politics, imposing a permanent austerity regime. Europeanisation today is identical with a systematic emptying of national democracies of political economic content. "Where there are still democratic institutions in Europe, there is no economic governance any more ... and where there is economic governance, democracy is elsewhere."This collection of essays has something interesting to say on almost every page: important arguments sadly absent from mainstream debate. What new possibilities might open up if we started to question what capitalism is doing to society, and stopped believing that it is inevitable and irreplaceable?

  • By Adrian Keith Heaven on 6 February 2017

    Puts it all in context. Capitalism will not be brought down by the people. It will destroy itself. This has already started but we are refusing to believe it. So the process will be drawn out and needlessly miserable.Doesn't really address the problems of Brexit or Trump but predicts that electorates will thrash around looking for easy solutions when the issues are far more profound than populist politicians and newspapers pretend.Both Brexit and Trump appear to be continuing the same pro-business policies that are hastening the end of Capitalism.The book is very good in identifying Capitalism's greatest post-Cold War triumph as the most significant factor in its demise.

  • By K J LUCK on 25 January 2017

    I'm NOT SURPRISED that Economist PAUL MASON recommended this bookabout Capitalism In Crisis !! Its clarity makes the subject understandable. It'sa hardback that will be treasured in any home library interested in Economics!


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