A Post-Keynesian Approach
New Directions in Modern Economics series
Edited by Claude Gnos, Louis-Philippe Rochon and Domenica Tropeano
Chapter 1: Deconstructing Labor: A Marxian–Kaleckian Perspective on What is ‘New’ in Contemporary Capitalism and Economic Policies
1. Deconstructing labor: a Marxian– Kaleckian perspective on what is ‘new’ in contemporary capitalism and economic policies* Riccardo Bellofiore and Joseph Halevi INTRODUCTION 1. The neoliberal turn of the early 1980s established a powerful stagnationist tendency, but from the mid-1990s onwards, political countertendencies were activated that solved, albeit temporarily, the problem of an insufficient effective demand, at the same time weakening and fragmenting labor.1 These political processes and mechanisms – the epicenter of which is in the USA – gave way to a new kind of interventionist economic policies. To be sure, the active intervention of the state has never really disappeared, not even in the years of UK Prime Minister Thatcher and US President Reagan. Whoever thinks that neoliberalism is a return to laisser faire – the actual historical existence of the latter being, as Keynes was well aware, rather dubious – is mistaking ideology for facts. Yet we think there is something ‘new’ in contemporary capitalism and in its economic policies that requires a new understanding. 2. HOW THE NEW CAPITALISM REALIZED MONEY PROFITS FOR A WHILE. . . The stagnationist tendency took hold in the 1980s and in the early 1990s. The deregulation of capital movements, the restrictive monetary policies, the attack on welfare provisions, and the aggressive competition of global players in manufacturing and service sectors have all been at the root of the low and unstable levels of investment and of the violent compression of the share of wages, and often of real wages, hence of 11 GNOS 9781848440685 PRINT.indd 11...
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