Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Kees van der Pijl
Chapter 24: Risk capitalism, crisis of socialization and loss of civilization
Neoliberal transformation has dramatically changed the social conditions prevailing in the West, and in a remarkably short time at that. The speed with which social contradictions thought to have been overcome are spreading also in countries with a tradition of ‘social partnership’ would have been inconceivable three decades ago, even for radical critics of capitalism. The downward spiral in the developed capitalist world has reached a point reminiscent of Third World conditions. Unlike the prosperous capitalism of the postwar period, nowadays if someone gets drawn into the vortex of social degradation it is increasingly difficult to find a way out. Even those living above the poverty line cannot rest on their laurels; they too are at constant risk. Minor reasons (an additional child, long-term illness or unemployment of one’s partner) suffice to break one’s stride.
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