The State of Capitalism

The State of Capitalism:Economy, Society, and Hegemony

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Thinking beyond pandemic capitalism

The health emergency that broke out in 2020 is a landmark event in the development of capitalism, confirming the underlying change signalled by the Great Crisis of 2007-9. The Pandemic Crisis has catapulted the state to the centre of economic activity. However, a historic impasse is steadily becoming apparent at the core of the world economy

Productive accumulation is flaccid, as both profitability and labour productivity are weak. Financialisation has entered a new phase, as "shadow banking" grew relative to other banks but is entirely dependent on the state. The power of the state derives from command over fiat money and can certainly deliver enormous boosts to aggregate demand, but that is not enough to tackle the weakness of the productive sector.

The rise in inflation for the first time in forty years indicates the impasse. There is a transparent need for intervention on the supply side, directly challenging capitalist property rights. There is no evidence, however, that the ruling blocs in core countries would engage in such policies.

The Pandemic Crisis also brought to the fore fresh divisions of core and periphery across the world economy. Imperialism has assumed new forms, spurred by globally active financial capital and internationalised productive capital. A renewed contest for hegemony has emerged as US power declined. The economic challenge of China will unfold steadily in the years ahead, intensifying political tensions and military rivalries.

This book is the work of a research collective comprising authors from several parts of the world. It analyses these vital issues from the perspective of Marxist political economy and puts forth alternative anticapitalist proposals.

Reviews

  • A meticulous analysis of what happened when the greatest health crisis since 2018 crashed into the greatest capitalist crisis since 1929. A must read.

    Yanis Varoufakis
  • Capitalism, in its current neoliberal variant, is a perfectly designed system for producing ruinous financial bubbles, massive increases in inequality, and the destruction of the planet. In The State of Capitalism, Costas Lapavitsas and the EReNSEP Writing Collective explain with great scope and force how this has been happening before our eyes for the past 40 years, in all regions of the globe. Critically, they also advance a clear-eyed political program for transcending neoliberalism and building viable democratic socialist alternatives.

    Robert Pollin, Distinguished University Professor of Economics and Co-Director, Political Economy Research Institute
  • The State of Capitalism provides an elegant and exhaustive analysis of the changing faces of financialization, neoliberalism, state power and US empire - and how the left must adapt and respond. Lapavitsas develops a typically brilliant and incisive narrative on the transformation of global capitalism since the turn of the century, and shows how these changes formed the foundations of the era of perennial crisis in which we now live.

    Grace Blakeley