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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.