The Crises of Capitalism
Radical sociologist David Harvey asks: is it time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?
For over forty years, David Harvey has been one of the world’s most trenchant and critical analysts of capitalist development. He delivers an impassioned account of how unchecked neoliberalism produced the system-wide crisis that now engulfs the world.
Beginning in the 1970s, profitability pressures led the capitalist class in advanced countries to shift away from investment in industrial production at home toward the higher returns that financial products promised. Accompanying this was a shift towards privatization, an absolute decline in the bargaining power of labor, and the dispersion of production throughout the developing world.
The decades-long and ongoing decline in wages that accompanied this turn produced a dilemma: how can goods – especially real estate – sell at the same rate as before if workers are making less in relative terms? The answer was a huge expansion of credit that fueled the explosive growth of both the financial industry and the real estate market. When one key market collapsed – real estate – the other one did as well, and social devastation resulted.