After the Crisis: Global Capitalism and the Critique of Political Economy

Hugo Radice


Since the global financial crisis of 2008-9, neoliberalism has proved to be remarkably resilient. Alternatives in economic policy and political philosophy alike have found little resonance, despite street protests and insurgent parties of left and right in countries hit hardest by austerity. This essay focuses on Marxist and related analyses. It is argued first that Marxism has suffered from a separation between its analysis of capitalism as an economic system, and contemporary critiques of the political and social order, notably over the question of class. Marxist analyses of class have thus far failed to reconcile the traditional view of a two-class society with the complex social differentiations evident in capitalism. It is suggested that the unity of the working class arises not from its subordination to capital as such, but from the directly social character of the labour process in its material (use-value) aspect. In order to challenge capitalism, its critics need to explicitly propose an alternative social order based on equality, social justice, collective action and internationalism.
Key Words: Global Capitalism, Marxist Political Economy, Class Theory and Class Politics, Banking Crisis of 2007-2008

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