We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
George Irvin, who is Research Professor at the University of London and author of Super Rich: The Rise of Inequality in Britain and the United States, provides a useful summary or overview of what has happened to the economies of Britian and the US since the beginning of the neoliberal era of capitalism.
Too many highly educated observers still think is is useful to frame their analysis in nationalistic terms; and thus, ignore the globalization of capitalism that has logically developed, under the rules of capitalism, in the neoliberal era. The neoliberal Western directors of capitalism, a system which is driven by its capitalist actors to seek ever greater accumulations of wealth and the power associated with wealth, have been enabled to expand beyond national boundaries by the advances of technology, and have been forced to do so by the increasing competition from low-wage countries beginning in the 1970s as explained by Irvin.
Thus, Western capitalists dominated mostly by US and British capitalists have gone global in their investments and logically found better profit-making opportunities in many low wage countries. Capitalists are organized like gangs to control access to resources, markets, and low wage labor; and they have used NATO as the ultimate weapon to insure this access. This larger view is much more important to understanding the current world we live in than the narrow nationalistic view that many observers still cling to despite this dramatic change in capitalist organization. Therefore, to me the question posed in the title and the related answer is not very useful.