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Business as Usual

The Roots of the Global Financial Meltdown

Craig Calhoun, Georgi Derluguian

Publication Year: 2011

Situates the current crisis in the historical trajectory of the capitalist world-system, showing how the crisis was made possible not only by neoliberal financial reforms but by a massive turn away from manufacturing things of value towards seeking profit from financial exchange and credit. Much more basic than the result of a few financial traders cheating the system, this is a potential historical turning point. In original essays, the contributors establish why the system was ripe for crisis of the past, and yet why this meltdown was different. The volume concludes by asking whether as deep as the crisis is, it may contain seeds of a new global economy, what role the US will play, and whether China or other countries will rise to global leadership.

Contributors include: Giovanni Arrighi, Gopal Balakrishnan, Manuel Castells, Daniel Chirot, Fernando Coroni, Nancy Fraser, James K. Galbraith, David Harvey, Caglar Keyder, Beverly J. Silver, and Immanuel Wallerstein.

The three volumes can purchased individually or as a set.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Series Acknowledgments

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pp. 7-8

The volumes in this series have their roots in discussions at the World Public Forum, Dialogue of Civilizations. At a 2008 meeting in Vienna, the WPF honored former Austrian chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer for his leadership in global affairs and assembled a “high-level summit of experts” to join him and WPF president Vladimir Yakunin in discussion...

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Series Introduction: From the Current Crisis to Possible Futures

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pp. 9-42

The phrase “global financial crisis” has been repeated ten million times since March 2008. The rich countries of the twentieth century have been plunged into the worst recession since the Great Depression. Even after massive infusions of taxpayers’ money, financial institutions remain shaky. Major banks have failed; sovereign states in Europe face bankruptcy with...

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pp. 43-52

No adequate account of the contemporary crisis can be limited to shortterm problems inside the finance industry. Overleveraged investment banks, the spread of proprietary trading, ever more opaque and poorly understood derivatives, and hedge funds operating beyond regulation all played significant roles. So did a culture of gambling and greed. But it is...

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Chapter 1: The End of the Long Twentieth Century

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pp. 53-68

Writing almost twenty years ago—shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union—the British historian Eric Hobsbawm pointed to a widespread sense of confusion about where the world was headed: he wrote that it was as if we were “surrounded by a global fog.” The citizens of the world at the end of the twentieth century “knew for certain that an era of history...

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Chapter 2: Dynamics of (Unresolved) Global Crisis

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pp. 69-88

Since about 2007, politicians, pundits, and economists have all been talking about a global crisis, with considerable disagreement about the nature of this crisis and the measures that should be taken to resolve it. Memories are short, but actually, there was a quite similar discussion in the 1970s. In 1982, I published a book...

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Chapter 3: The Enigma of Capital and the Crisis This Time

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pp. 89-112

There are many explanations for the crisis of capital that began in 2007. But the one thing missing is an understanding of “systemic risks.” I was alerted to this when Her Majesty the Queen visited the London School of Economics and asked the prestigious economists there why they had not seen the crisis coming. She being a feudal monarch rather than an...

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Chapter 4: A Turning Point or Business as Usual?

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pp. 113-136

In the spring of 2009, as the crash of 2008–9 seemed to be dragging the US economy toward a new depression and the entire world was following, I talked to some knowledgeable bankers in the state of Washington about the fall of Washington Mutual (WaMu) in 2008, the largest bank failure in US history up to...

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Chapter 5: Marketization, Social Protection, Emancipation:Toward a Neo-Polanyian Conception of Capitalist Crisis

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pp. 137-158

By all rights, the current crisis of neoliberal capitalism should alter the landscape of critical theorizing. During the past two decades, most theorists kept their distance from the sort of large-scale social theorizing associated with Marxism. Apparently accepting the necessity of academic specialization, they settled on one or another branch of disciplinary...

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Chapter 6: Crisis, Underconsumption, and Social Policy

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pp. 159-184

This chapter seeks to analyze the reasons for the chronic problems experienced by the crisis-prone world economy and points to a possible future. As the greatest burden of globalization is borne by the poor, whose fortunes have worsened since the 1980s, any ethically desirable scenario for the future should seek to enhance their chances of securing a livelihood. In both the North and the South, there is a new poverty suffered by those...

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Chapter 7: The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Toward a New Economic Culture?

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pp. 185-210

The hypothesis underlying the analysis presented in this chapter is that the crisis of global capitalism that exploded in 2008 is structural and multidimensional. Therefore, even if the free fall of the economy was contained by late 2009, thanks to massive government intervention around the world, it is not likely that we will see a return to the social and...

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Chapter 8: The Convolution of Capitalism

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pp. 211-230

What does today’s slow-motion meltdown of markets indicate about the historical viability of capitalism? Looked at in a longer-term historical perspective, the latest round of global turbulence might open up new perspectives on its outer boundaries of development. Indeed, properly understood, it brings to light an epochal shift concealed over the preceding...

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Chapter 9: The Future in Question: History and Utopia in Latin America (1989–2010)

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pp. 231-264

The year 1989, world historical for many reasons, marked the close of a long period of military dictatorships in Latin America. It also initiated novel approaches to progress through democratic procedures and the reconceptualization of democracy as not only a means to achieve progress but also one of its central ends. At that time, the defeat of...


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pp. 265-292

About the Contributors

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pp. 293-296


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pp. 297-312

E-ISBN-13: 9780814723555
E-ISBN-10: 0814723551
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814772775
Print-ISBN-10: 0814772773

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Financial crises.
  • Capitalism.
  • Global Financial Crisis, 2008-2009.
  • Consumption (Economics).
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