United States of Emergency

United States of Emergency : American Capitalism and Its Crises

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American Capitalism, Global Crisis is a genealogy of the emergence of a finance-ridden, authoritarian, undemocratic American capitalism, from industrialisation to the present day. By providing a panoramic political-economic history of the country, it surveys the ruthlessly competitive capitalism of the nineteenth century, the maturation of industrial capitalism in the twenties, the rise and fall of capitalism's Golden Age and the ensuing decline towards the modern era. Alan Nasser shows why the emergence of the persistent austerity of financialised neoliberal capitalism is the natural outcome of mature capitalism's evolution.

It demonstrates that the nation's historic trajectory was marked by a succession of turning-point crises and key political-economic responses to them. This developmental pattern reveals both the key structural and political vulnerabilities of capitalism itself and points towards the kind of political-economic system that can transcend it. At the centre of the argument, capitalism ultimately presents us with two alternatives, either a "new normal" of persistent austerity, declining democracy and a privatised state, or a polity and economy characterized by economic democracy that can ensure both higher wages and a shorter working week.

A result of a lifetime's research, this book will make an important contribution to the literature on the roots of the economic crisis and the democratic possibilities it opens up.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 135 x 215mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745333834
  • 9780745333830

Table of contents


1. US Capitalism's First Chapter: The 19th Century, A Crucible of Unbridled Competition

2. The Twenties and Thirties: The Dynamics of Mature Industrial Capitalism

3. The Great Boom: Oligopoly Capitalism's Golden Age, 1949-1973

4. The End of the Golden Age: The Rejection of the New Deal and the Business Counteroffensive

5. Deadly Twins: Neoliberal Globalisation and Financialisation

6. The Great Recession, the Bailout and the Age of Austerity

7. Chronic Austerity, the Threat To Democracy and the Globalisation of Dissent

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About Alan Nasser

Alan Nasser is Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. His writing over the last thirty years has dealt with political and economic issues. In the past he has written on legal theory, philosophy and psychoanalysis. He is a frequent contributor to Counterpunch, a member of the Union for Radical Political Economists, and an adviser to Occupy Seattle.
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