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The Capitalist Economy, 1945–2000: A Reply to Konings and to Panitch and Gindin

  • Robert Brenner

Abstract

Konings pursues two closely interrelated lines of argument in offering a critique of and an alternative to my understanding of post-war economic evolution, one methodological, the other substantive. His purpose is to undermine structure in favor of agency, in order to give pride of place to state power, class struggle, and the initiatives of capitalists, and, in this way, to found a particular interpretation of the evolution of the post-war order, which can be briefly summarized in the following way. The American state was the unshaped shaper of the post-war international economic order and imposed rules of the game designed to open the way for the penetration, and domination, of the European and Japanese economies by US multinationals and banks. Working-class resistance, along with the rise of social movements, put an end to the great post-war boom by making for a major fall in the rate of profit from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, against the background of a crisis of productivity. During the 1970s, the US government could not mount the will to impose the needed stabilization policies, largely for fear of the political consequences. Capitulating to a wide range of social forces, it sought to keep the economy turning over through Keynesian deficits, but these brought runaway inflation and a declining dollar, very much exacerbating the crisis.

Keywords

Foreign Direct Investment Real Wage Real Interest Rate Wage Growth Capital Ratio 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Robert Brenner 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Brenner

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