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Neoliberalism is Collapsing. What Was it? What Comes Next?

The titles below trace this history and provide the backdrop for understanding class struggle today in the context of the collapse of neoliberalism: 

Verso Books21 December 2021

Neoliberalism is Collapsing. What Was it? What Comes Next?

Until January 4 (2022), at 23.59 EST, we have 40% off ALL our print books and 60% off all our ebooks (see full details here)! See all our reading guides here.

Something happened to the economies of the advanced capitalist world beginning in the 1970’s. What appeared to many at the time to be a momentary downturn morphed into a deep structural crisis of profitability across globalized capitalism. This period ushered in a transformation in the political economy of every major country in the direction of capital that has come to be known as the period of neoliberalism, which eventually spread its violence into the developing world.

The momentary economic crisis proved to be an opportunity for a new elite offensive. Lowered profit rates led to a collapse in investment. A collapse in capital accumulation led to spikes in unemployment and a general slowdown in economic activity which further weakened labor. Capital waged a one-sided class war that proved incredibly successful at beating back the gains of the post-War period and re-established its total dominance over society and politics. Deindustrialization became widespread in high-wage countries, and the class balance that typified the post-War years, in which an organized and powerful working class was able to force demands from a capitalist class overseeing record levels of growth and expansion, was overturned in the direction of capital. No matter which party was in power or what kind of governing institutions existed, there was a clear re-orientation to the needs of capital: general austerity and cuts to social spending; changes to labor law in favor of capital; liberalization and privatization; tax breaks and other fiscal giveaways to economic elites; the growing centrality of finance as a political and economic force. 

The world we inhabit today is the scene of the collapse of this regime. Inequality has skyrocketed to new levels, major social crises appear on a rolling basis, and elites seem cartoonishly incapable of meeting ever intensifying challenges. Governing bodies have been hollowed out and do little more than redistribute resources upward. And while new levels of social-unrest are coming to the fore, it is still unclear whether an organized and sustained challenge will develop to reorient politics towards the needs of the masses. So while neoliberalism is now in terminal crisis, it is unclear what will come next. 

The titles below trace this history and provide the backdrop for understanding class struggle today in the context of the end of neoliberalism: 

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How to theorise the European Union as a bastion of neoliberal capitalism  

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A major political economic analysis of the collapse of neoliberalism  

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Chilling account of the end of party democracy, by the leading political scientist 

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A global panorama of liberal democracies from a renowned social theorist

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 The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism

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What comes after neoliberalism?

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 New edition of this major work examining the development of neoliberalism

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Understanding the power of the corporations and how to take the struggle directly to them 

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The brutal truth behind our automated futures and the new world of work 

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The authoritarian face of neoliberalism

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A far-reaching deconstruction of neoliberalism’s economic agenda, political imposition and mystifying techniques

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How finance is a mechanism of social and political domination

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 How Finance Exploits Us All

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The commodification of public services, and the role of the state in absorbing risk.

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 A major rereading of Marx’s critique of political economy

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 How did Britain’s economy become a bastion of inequality?

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The best systematic attempt so far to combine the general theory of the “laws of motion” of the capitalist mode of production developed by Marx, with the concrete history of capitalism in the twentieth century. 

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How Neoliberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown 

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Systematic analysis of the The Advanced Capitalist Economies from Long Boom to Long Downturn, 1945-2005 

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A consensus-shattering account of automation technologies and their effect on workplaces and the labor market 

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A deep dive into Joe Biden’s history and the origins of his political values 

[book-strip index="23" style="buy"] [book-strip index="24" style="buy"]

Why centrist politics in France is bound to fail 

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Exploring one of the most important aribters of neoliberal ideology 

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The fatal embrace of human rights and neoliberalism 

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If crisis is the norm, how do we demand change?

Further Reading

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Verso Gift Guide: books to ignite radical ideas

2021 End of Year Highlights

The Year in 10 Books: we pick 10 unmissable books from this year

Ever Closer Union?
The European Union is a political order of peculiar stamp and continental scope, its polity of 446 million the third largest on the planet, though with famously little purchase on the conduct of it...
How Will Capitalism End?
After years of ill health, capitalism is now in a critical condition. Growth has given way to stagnation; inequality is leading to instability; and confidence in the money economy has all but evapo...
Ruling the Void

Ruling the Void

The age of party democracy has passed, argues Peter Mair in Ruling the Void. The major parties have become so disconnected from society that they no longer seem capable of sustaining democracy in i...
Inequality and the Labyrinths of Democracy
Classical liberalism regarded universal suffrage as a mortal threat to property. So what explains the advent of liberal democracy, and how stable today is the marriage between representative govern...
Buying Time
The financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 still has the world on tenterhooks. The gravity of the situation is matched by a general paucity of understanding about what is happening and ho...
The Great Recoil
In these times of health emergency, economic collapse, populist anger and ecological threat, societies are forced to turn inward in search of protection. Neoliberalism, the ideology that presided o...
The New Spirit of Capitalism
In this major work, sociologists Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello go to the heart of the changes in contemporary capitalism. Via an unprecedented analysis of the latest management texts that have fo...
Levers of Power
It’s no secret that the 1%—the business elite that commands the largest corporations and the connected network of public and private institutions—exercise enormous control over the US government. W...
Work Without the Worker
We are told that the future of work will be increasingly automated. Algorithms, processing massive amounts of information at startling speed, will lead us to a new world of effortless labour and a ...
Never Ending Nightmare
How do we explain the strange survival of the forcesresponsible for the 2008 economic crisis, one of the worst since 1929? How do we explain the fact that neoliberalism has emerged from the crisis...
The New Way of the World
Exploring the genesis of neoliberalism, and the political and economic circumstances of its deployment, Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval dispel numerous common misconceptions. Neoliberalism is nei...
Economics and the Left
Economics and the Left presents interviews with 24 leading progressive economists, whose life work has been dedicated to both interpreting the world and changing it for the better. They all deploy...
Fictitious Capital
The 2007–08 credit crisis and the long recession that followed brutally exposed the economic and social costs of financialization. Understanding what lay behind these events, the rise of “fictitiou...
Profiting Without Producing
Financialization is one of the most innovative concepts to emerge in the field of political economy in the last three decades, although there is no agreement on what exactly it is. Profiting With...
Market-Driven Politics
With the globalisation of the capitalist economy the economic role of national governments is now largely confined to controlling inflation and facilitating home-grown market performance. This repr...
The Limits to Capital
Now a classic of Marxian economics, The Limits to Capital provides one of the best theoretical guides to the history and geography of capitalist development. In this edition, Harvey updates his cla...
Rentier Capitalism
In this landmark book, the author of The New Enclosure provides a forensic examination and sweeping critique of early-twenty-first-century capitalism. Brett Christophers styles this as ‘rentier cap...
Late Capitalism
Late Capitalism is the first major synthesis to have been produced by the contemporary revival of Marxist economics. It represents, in fact, the only systematic attempt so far ever made to combine ...
Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste
At the onset of the Great Recession, as house prices sank and joblessness soared, many commentators thought that neoliberalism itself was in its death throes. And yet it seems that—post-apocalypse—...
The Economics of Global Turbulence
For years, the discipline of economics has been moving steadily away from the real world towards formalized axioms and mathematical models with only a precarious bearing on actuality. Commentators ...
Automation and the Future of Work
Silicon Valley titans, politicians, techno-futurists and social critics have united in arguing that we are living on the cusp of an era of rapid technological automation, heralding the end of work ...
Yesterday's Man
Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden exposes the forgotten history of Joe Biden, one of the United States’ longest-serving politicians, and one of its least scrutinized.Over nearly fifty yea...
Nine Lives of Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is dead. Again. After the election of Trump and the victory of Brexit in 2016, many diagnosed the demise of the ideology of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Augusto Pinochet, and the...
The Last Neoliberal
This book analyses the French political crisis, which has entered its most acute phase in more than thirty years with the break-up of traditional left and right social blocs. Governing parties have...
Liberalism at Large
In this landmark book, Alexander Zevin looks at the development of modern liberalism by examining the long history of the Economist newspaper, which, since 1843, has been the most tireless – and in...
The Morals of the Market
Drawing on detailed archival research on the parallel histories of human rights and neoliberalism, Jessica Whyte uncovers the place of human rights in neoliberal attempts to develop a moral framewo...
The Age of Precarity
Crisis dominates the present historical moment. The economy is in crisis, politics in both its past and present forms is in crisis and our own individual lives are in crisis, made vulnerable by the...