Capitalism Unleashed: Finance Globalization and Welfare

Capitalism Unleashed: Finance Globalization and Welfare

Capitalism Unleashed: Finance Globalization and Welfare

Capitalism Unleashed: Finance Globalization and Welfare

Synopsis

Free enterprise is off the leash and chasing new opportunities for profit making across the globe. After a turbulent century of unprecedented social and technological change, Capitalism has emerged as the dominant ideology and model for economic growth in the richest, most developed countries. But only thirty years ago economic growth was faltering, inflation rising and the Left were arguing for greater state intervention in industry. How did this remarkable transformation happen? And whatprice have we paid in the process? This accessible and persuasive book challenges the notion of our capitalist destiny. It provides a clear and concise history of the problems facing the economies of Europe, Japan and the US during the latter half of the twentieth century and questions whether capitalism has really brought the levels of economic growth and prosperity that were hoped for. Andrew Glyn then looks at the impact the rapidly developing economies of China and the South are likely tohave on the older economies of the North. As the race is on to maintain growth and protect competitive advantage, Glyn asks: is the 'race-to-the bottom' inevitable as the anti-globalisers predict, with welfare states being dismantled to meet competitive demands? Or is there an alternative model which sees a strong commitment to welfare provision as essential to economic growth? Can we afford not to tackle inequality at home as well as abroad?

Excerpt

Low inflation, quiescent industrial relations, freedom for capital to chase profitable opportunities without restraint and the domination of market-based solutions have become familiar features of the economic landscape of the rich economies. When such a pattern becomes firmly established it soon acquires the status of business as usual. Yet 30 years ago inflation was rising, profits were squeezed, trades unions were bargaining aggressively and parties of the left were actively discussing ideas for deeper state intervention in industry. A huge shift in economic policies and behaviour was needed to launch our economies on their new trajectory. This book provides a short history of how this transformation was achieved and examines the impact on growth, stability and equality of letting free enterprise off the leash.

Authors of books like this one always hope that it will be widely accessible, in this case to anybody interested in the current debates on economics and economic policy. Some acquaintance with economic terminology and ideas is helpful, though I have tried to explain the less familiar concepts. I trust that it will be useful to students in a wide range of social sciences, not just economics, who would like to get a feel for the 'big picture' of how the economic system has been developing.

The focus is on the rich countries—Western Europe, North America, Japan and Australasia. The rest of the world features only when and where its economic development has a major effect on the most developed economies. Thus Africa barely figures, whilst China receives considerable attention. Those primarily interested in the 'South' should still find the book of interest. After all, economic trends in the rich 'North' have such important effects on the rest of the world that they are far from irrelevant to those whose primary . . .

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