Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Capitalism's dotage

My weekly book post on s+b's blog covers a book that suggests that business as usual wont be an option much longer:

Fiddling at Davos, as Capitalism Burns
At the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos this week, approximately 2,500 politicians, business leaders, and assorted experts are considering many of the issues raised by five sociologists in
Does Capitalism Have a Future? (Oxford University Press, 2013). It’s likely that the WEF attendees will end up in a place similar to the sociologists—with a general consensus that the global economy is facing huge challenges, conflicting views about their causes and consequences, and only speculative guesses about possible solutions.

Leading the batting order of solo essays (which are sandwiched between an introduction and conclusion written by the entire author team), Yale senior research scientist and former International Sociological Association president Immanuel Wallerstein asserts that capitalism is approaching a “structural crisis much bigger than the recent Great Recession.” This crisis, he says, will come from a profit squeeze caused by an inexorable rise in the prices of labor and raw materials, and tax rates, combined with political instability. Randall Collins, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, thinks that the primary driving force behind this instability will be the gutting of the middle class as up to two-thirds of the jobs that support it disappear... read the rest here

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