The Great Recession and the Contradictions of Contemporary Capitalism

The Great Recession and the Contradictions of Contemporary Capitalism

New Directions in Modern Economics series

Edited by Riccardo Bellofiore and Giovanna Vertova

The current crisis is one of the great crises punctuating the long history of capitalism, and to be properly understood it is vital to take into account its ongoing structural transformation. This book offers plural perspectives on the Great Recession, placing the analysis of finance, class and gender at the center of the debate. It begins with a comprehensive insight into the crisis, before moving on to focus on debt, asset inflation and financial fragility. Following chapters discuss global imbalances, structural monetary reform and the management of public finance, including a investigation of the Italian experience. The book concludes with novel contributions on the gender dimension of the crisis and the analogies between a nuclear and financial chain reaction.

Chapter 2: The crisis of the early 21st Century: Marxian perspectives

Gérard Duménil and Dominique Lévy

Subjects: economics and finance, money and banking, post-keynesian economics


That capitalism underwent a new structural crisis about three decades after the crisis of the 1970s, under circumstances evocative of the Great Depression, raised numerous interrogations. The purpose of the present chapter is to summarize our own interpretation, and discuss a set of other analyses of Marxian inspiration. Marxist scholars share a common critical analysis of capitalism in general and, more specifically, of neoliberalism, the latter phase of capitalism. But there should be no surprise in the discovery that the interpretation of the crisis remains controversial. The example of the Great Depression is telling in this respect: eighty years after the event, no consensus has yet been found concerning its actual roots, and the same sets of alternative explanations are often retaken in the discussion of the current crisis.

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