Critical Encounters

Critical Encounters:Capitalism, Democracy, Ideas

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An anthology of long-read book reviews by one of the European left’s foremost political economists.

From the acclaimed author of How Will Capitalism End? comes an omnibus of long-form critical essays engaging with leading economists and thinkers. Critical Encounters draws on Wolfgang Streeck’s inimitable writing for the London Review of Books and New Left Review, among other publications. It opens with treatments of two contrasting historical eras - factory capitalism and financialization - and three of the world’s major economies: the United States, France and Germany. Delving into the world of ideas, Streeck discusses the work of Quinn Slobodian, Mark Blyth, Jürgen Habermas and Perry Anderson. Finally, he zooms out to compare his home discipline of sociology to natural history, giving a remarkable and non-deterministic reading of Charles Darwin. In the preface, Streeck reflects on the art (or craft) of book reviewing and the continuing merits of the book form. Critical Encounters also includes a series of 'Letters from Europe', penned as the coronavirus descended upon the Continent.


  • Synthesises the various strands of left crisis theory into a convincing proposal, as strong psychologically as it is on economics.

    Paul MasonGuardian, Books of the Year 2016 [on How Will Capitalism End?]
  • A must-read.

    Financial Times, Best Books of 2016 [on How Will Capitalism End?]
  • Streeck sees a destructive convergence of three fixed trends in late capitalism: a declining rate of economic growth, soaring overall indebtedness, and rising economic inequality in both income and wealth. His work interlocks with recent dark conclusions by Robert J. Gordon, Thomas Piketty, and Wendy Brown, among others.

    Norman RushNew York Review of Books [on How Will Capitalism End?]