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Does capitalism have a future? - Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein

9780199330850
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Title
Does capitalism have a future?
Author
Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20131219

The Great Recession has prompted a reassessment of the specific mode of capitalist accumulation that achieved dominance in the era of globalization.
Yet just about all of this literature has focused on one of two issues: why things went wrong, and what we need to do in order to return the system to stability. Outside of a contingent of radical socialists on the fringes of the debate, virtually no one questioned whether capitalism could continue. In Does CapitalismHave a Future?, the prominent theorist Georgi Derleugian has gathered together a quintet of eminent macrosociologists to assess whether the capitalist system can survive. The prevalent common wisdom, for all its current gloom, nevertheless safely assumes that capitalism cannot break down permanently because there is no alternative. The authors shatter this assumption, arguing that this generalization is not supported by theory but is rather an outgrowth of the optimistic nineteenth-century claim that human history ascends through stages to an enlightened equilibrium of liberal capitalism. Yet as they point out, just about all major historical systems have brokendown in the end (e.g., the Roman empire).
In the modern epoch there have been several cataclysmic events-notably the French revolution, World War I, and the collapse of the Soviet bloc-that came to pass mainly because contemporary political elites had spectacularly failed to calculate theconsequences of the processes they presumed to govern. At present, none of our governing elites and very few of our intellectuals can fathom an ending to our current reigning system.
Considering whether a collapse is possible is the task that the quintet-Derleugian, Michael Mann, Randall Collins, Craig Calhoun, and Immanuel Wallerstein-sets out to explore. While all of the contributors arrive at different conclusions, they are in constant dialogue with each other and therefore able toconstruct relatively seamless-if open-ended-whole. For instance, Wallerstein (who accurately predicted the collapse of the Soviet system in 1979) and Collins, identify fatal structural faults in twenty-first century capitalism. Mann, on the other hand, does not think that there is any serious alternativeto the market dynamic, but he does identify other serious threats to the system, including environmental degradation.
Calhoun and Derluguian are more circumspect and focus on the role of politics in steering the system toward either revival or collapse.This most ambitious of books, written by the highest caliber of sociologists, asks the biggest of questions: are we on the cusp of a radical world historical shift or not?

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Immanuel Wallerstein is Senior Research Scholar at Yale and founder of the Fernand Braudel Center at Binghamton University.

Randall Collins is Dorothy Swaine Thomas Professor of Sociology University of Pennsylvania and former President of American Sociological Association.

Michael Mann teaches sociology at UCLA.

Georgi Derluguian teaches Social Research and Public Policy at New York University Abu Dhabi.

Craig Calhoun is Director of the London School of Economics.

Finally, a book that will make a difference! Five eminent scholars put together their collective wisdom and their many disagreements to open up a free-wheeling conversation on one of the most important questions of our time: the future of this economic system we call capitalism. This should be mandatory reading for every college student in the world, not because it furnishes the answers but because it opens up all the most important questions.

David Harvey

Does Capitalism Have a Future is the work of five eminent big-picture thinkers. Their rich analysis of capitalism's contradictions and vision of possibilities for its future evolution are well worth pondering.

Francis Fukuyama

Type
BOOK
Keyword Index
Capitalism.|Middle class.|Technological innovations - Forecasting.
Country of Publication
New York (State)
Number of Pages
192

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