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A periodization of European social policy, from attempts to manage the militant labour upsurge of the late 1960s to a supra-national lever for neoliberal restructuring, by way of Maastricht’s Social Protocol. The upshot: a deleterious relocation of social-policy battles from the terrain of welfare-state building to the fields of fiscal policy and immigration.
Degrowth: A Defence
Counterblast to Robert Pollin’s programme in NLR 112 for a green-growth new deal, arguing that a radical reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions requires a smaller global economy. Proposals for a drastic overhaul of production, construction, transportation and agricultural practices.
A survey of the ‘green strategy’ debate in recent numbers of NLR unravels the threads of twin disagreements about GDP growth, which appears, by turns, a political-economic necessity and an ecological death-sentence. Steady-state, half-earthing, degrowth, green new deal? All have questions to answer.
De-Growth vs a Green New Deal
Can degrowth supply a political economy that meets environmental and egalitarian aims? In a powerful contribution to the debate initiated by Herman Daly and Benjamin Kunkel (NLR 109), Robert Pollin argues that a green-growth model offers a more viable alternative.
The European Vortex
Global economic turmoil has exposed the structural flaws in the single currency. Amid deepening divergences between industrial north and debt-laden south, Michel Aglietta assesses the Eurozone’s chances of recovery, and the impact of its continued travails on the world economy.
Another Turn Of The Screw?
Beneath the roiling surface of the Euro-crisis, a further chapter of the EU integration project is underway. Susan Watkins on the institutional machinery Berlin is imposing across the Union, and the political stakes—and hypocrisies—laid bare by the struggle.
Atlantic economies remain mired in unemployment and stagnation three years on from 2008. Diagnosing the underlying causes of the crisis as global over-capacity, deficient demand and anarchic credit creation, Robin Blackburn explores proposals for a genuine exit from it to the left.
The Political Economy of Unhappiness
As the bill for mental health problems—iconically, depression—climbs, economists seek to quantify the efficiency costs of unhappiness. In such quests, capitalism is reverting to classical psychologies of well-being, the better to neutralize the meaning of the new forms of illness—and its authorship of them.
Ireland on the turn?
In a landmark study, Daniel Finn surveys the political and economic consequences of the 2008 crash, on both sides of the Irish border. Looming austerity and entrenched sectarian divides in the North; with the demise of the Celtic Tiger in the South, the unravelling of Fianna Fáil’s long dominance and emergence of a new-model Sinn Fein as the one all-Ireland party
Lessons from Iceland
The extraordinary rise and fall of Iceland’s ﬁnancial-casino economy. Wade and Sigurgeirsdóttir describe the island’s neoliberal turn under a quasi-feudal elite turned banking oligopoly, and its prospects amidst the triple crisis—currency, banking, sovereign debt—now bestriding it.
Value Theory and the Chinese Worker
In answer, Blackburn explores the paradoxes of fictitious capital, underwritten by super-exploitation of China’s producers. A public-utility credit system, democratic forms of nationalization and mechanisms to socialize investment as steps towards financial dual power.
Asset-Stripping the State
Within the global wave of privatizations, those enacted in Latin America stand out for their breathtaking speed and scale. Medeiros contends that the principal motivation was not economic but political, driven by new capitalist coalitions emerging from the 1980s debt crisis.
Crisis in the Heartland
Against mainstream accounts, Peter Gowan argues that the origins of the global financial crisis lie in the dynamics of the New Wall Street System that has emerged since the 1980s. Contours of the Atlantic model, and implications—geopolitical, ideological, economic—of its blow-out.
Financial Regime Change?
As stock markets plunge and governments scramble to bail out the finance sector, Robert Wade argues that we are exiting the neoliberal paradigm that has held sway since the 1980s. Causes and repercussions of the crisis, and errors of the model that brought it to fruition.
The New East Asia
The emergence of a new regional order from the ashes of the Asian Financial Crisis. As the PRC’s economic expansion takes it further afield in search of markets and raw materials, how have China’s neighbours responded to the Middle Kingdom’s return to the global stage?
How a militarized alliance of state-subsidized software firms, real-estate developers and captive Orthodox labour is forging the path of the Separation Wall in the Occupied Territories. Call for a cyber community boycott to support Palestinian farmers and Israeli oppositionists in their fight against it.
Capital and Social Europe
What positive programme can the Left propose for a ‘social Europe’, against the Anglo-Saxon model? Robin Blackburn outlines first steps towards a new financial regime aimed at boosting resources for sustainable health and retirement provision, with a share levy on corporations, redistributed across the continent.
Neoliberal Income Trends
A dramatic shift in the distribution of property and income to the very richest layers of US society has been a notorious trend of the past quarter-century, reaching dizzying peaks in the Clinton years. But these Himalayan heights of wealth and power are now surrounded by lower ridges of enrichment, with the formation of a new upper salariat stabilizing the post-Keynesian social order.
Breaking the Iron Triangle
How close is what was once the strongest—now the weakest—link in the chain of world capital to snapping? Gavan McCormack looks at the mortmain of Japan’s construction state, and the extent of its devastation of the country’s physical environment and public finances alike.
Mexico: Permuting Power
Mexico’s new Foreign Minister discusses his country’s prospects under Fox, and explains the thinking behind the ‘Buenos Aires Consensus’ programme for Latin America which will face its first major test there. What is in store for the country after eight decades of PRI rule?
The Boom and the Bubble
In the last four years, the US economy has posted its best performance since the sixties. What is the connexion between the formidable boom in the real economy and the historically unprecedented bubble on the stock market? Could the inflation of asset values far beyond the rise in corporate earnings be preparing a Japanese-style nemesis?
Anatomy of Clintonomics
The performance of the American economy is widely hailed as stellar, and the policies of the US President as financially prudent and socially progressive. Robert Pollin dismantles Clinton’s record as steward and reformer. Stock bubble and poverty sump as ‘residuals’ of the New Economy?
Creative Destruction: Capitalist Development and China’s Environment
The ‘Rise of China’ has been hailed as the most important trend in the world for the next century, and with good reason. While Russia and much of Eastern Europe sink into depression, Deng Xiaoping’s market reforms have turned China into the fastest growing large economy in the . . . read more
Building Societies: Stakeholding in Practice and Under Threat
In the beginning, building societies were invented by ordinary workers as democratic self-help organizations. The industrial revolution of the late eighteenth century brought a flood of workers into the cities—most of these to live in appalling conditions and at the mercy of their landlord and employer. The idea . . . read more
Current Successes and Future Challenges in China’s Economic Reforms
China’s programme of economic reform has met with remarkable success. The average annual growth rate since 1979 has been 8.8 per cent, placing China in a select group of developing countries which have achieved sustained industrial growth for over a decade. Indeed, China doubled output per person in . . . read more
Privatization and the Development of Capitalism in Russia
The almost universal assumption, at all points of the political spectrum, is that Russia is in the throes of a painful transition to capitalism. Privatization is seen as the key to this transition, and resistance to privatization is accordingly seen by the Western Left as the essential basis . . . read more
A Reply to David Edgerton
In his article ‘Liberal Militarism and the British State’ (nlr 185, January–February 1991), David Edgerton questions certain facts, calculations or interpretations of mine in my book The Audit of War about the British aircraft industry between the wars and during the Second World War. Let me take . . . read more
Farewell to Thatcherism? Neo-Liberalism and 'New Times'
There can be no doubt that the Thatcher government over the last year or so has encountered a crisis of public confidence: some even believe the end of Thatcherism is nigh. Signs of impending doom were already discerned in June 1989 when the Conservative party suffered its first . . . read more
Corporate Reconstruction and Business Unionism: The Lessons of Caterpillar and Ford
Technological determinism has recently emerged as the favoured theme of those who seek to challenge the centrality of class politics within the British labour movement. This somewhat uncharacteristic perspective is used to argue that new production technologies are directly creating a new political environment. Production processes, it is . . . read more
Introduction to Aganbegyan
The Soviet Union is going through its most radical transformation since the 1930s or, arguably (indeed, as argued by its leaders), since the 1917 Revolution. Many ‘impossibles’ become possible overnight. There has been a rapidly broadening political involvement of different social forces: administrators and officers, artists and writers, . . . read more
New Directions in Soviet Economics
Perestroika in the Soviet Union is a revolutionary renewal of the whole of Soviet society. It is not confined to economic change. That is, of course, my special interest as an economist, but the economic restructuring that has already begun cannot be separated from all the other . . . read more
Municipal Enterprise and Popular Planning
The appearance of a series of major reviews of the Greater London Council’s London Industrial Strategy (lis) in socialist publications, notably Mike Rustin’s thoughtful article in nlr 155, reflects its impact on the wider debate among socialists about strategies to confront the economic crisis. But socialist . . . read more
The Crisis in Bolivia
On the morning of Thursday, 29 August 1985 the government of Bolivia presented Supreme Decree no. 21060 to the nation. The 166 articles of this charter for a ‘New Economic Policy’ constituted the most radical shift in planning and policy in the country for over thirty years. Wages . . . read more
Lessons of the London Industrial Strategy
In the past few difficult years for the Left in Britain, the greatest cause for hope has been the initiatives of the new ‘city socialism’ of the metropolitan county councils such as the glc. They have succeeded in demonstrating the positive value of public provision—in transport and . . . read more
Capital Flight and Exchange Controls
The difficulties faced by a Labour Government in carrying out socialist policies in the UK assume their most dramatic form in the threat of capital flight. If free movement of financial capital is allowed, domestic UK interest rates are bound by a golden chain, via Euromarkets, . . . read more
Monetarism in London
In May 1979 when Mrs Thatcher came to power, there were 132,000 people unemployed in Greater London. In September 1982 there were 390,107. This amounts to a trebling of those without a job. For London as a whole, when allowance is made for unregistered women and for commuters, . . . read more
Problems and Prospects of the Soviet Economy
It has become customary on both right and far left to stress the weaknesses of the Soviet economy. The French book market is well stocked with works such as Emmanuel Todd’s La Chute finale, picturing the USSR as a land where nothing works and everything disintegrates. Senator Jackson’s . . . read more
Labour and the Economy
Britain’s fifth Labour government came to power in October 1964 at a time of rapidly maturing economic crisis for the capitalist system. The political existence of the Labour Party, as of all reformist, social democratic parties, rests on its ability to gain reforms for the working class within . . . read more
Washington v.Tokyo: Wall Street v. Marunouchi
In November last year the us House of Representatives passed a protectionist trade bill, by 215 to 165 votes, which was condemned inside and outside the usa as the worst of its kind since the Smoot-Hawley Bill of 1930. The bill was blocked in the Senate . . . read more
The Budget, Gold and the Incomes Policy
This year’s budget was the most severe and deflationary of any since the end of the last war. Altogether, it withdrew nearly £1,000 million of spending power from the economy—an unprecedented amount. The devaluation of last November, the January cuts in Government spending, and the budget in March . . . read more
The January Cuts
On January 16th the government announced a series of cuts in public spending—mainly in the social services and in defence. These cuts followed on logically from the devaluation of last November. The package was a mixed one, made up of a number of large items and some small . . . read more
Almost all commentaries on Britain’s financial and economic condition have managed to omit the fundamental dimension of imperialism: both that Britain is a major imperialist country in its own right, and, as a client of the us, the number two agent in the American imperialist system. read more
Indian Planning and Indian Realities
A. H. Hanson’s book on India’s Five-Year-Plans is the work of a specialist in political and administrative problems. The greater part of it is therefore devoted to questions raised by the organization of the various institutions which participate in drawing up the plans and in carrying them out. . . . read more
Labour and the City: The Predictable Crisis
At one point in their lives Labour Party spokesmen must have repeated their criticisms of ‘Stop-Go’ even in their sleep. Yet, on July 20th, 1966 Wilson announced the most savage set of deflationary measures since the war. How did this great repudiation come about? read more
Incomes Policy: A Reply
In his article ‘The Trap of an Incomes Policy’ in New Left Review 34 Bob Rowthorn makes a number of criticisms both of the Government’s Incomes Policy and also of our support for an advance towards socialism through pressure for an incomes policy. Our support was, of course, . . . read more
A Defence of the Incomes Policy Strategy
Writers whose views are fairly consistently rejected by people with whom they share a number of common assumptions and aspirations should begin to question either their own logic or their clarity of expression. Since A Socialist Wages Policy was published in 1959 its authors have had promptings enough . . . read more
Growth, Trade and Aid
When economists first became interested in the poverty of the underdeveloped countries, they concentrated their attention upon the supply side of the problem. What were the barriers in the way of increasing productivity? What were the significant scarcities of economic resources? Of the resources that were available, what . . . read more
The British Economy: Crisis and Structural Change
The 1960s have seen the British economy in a whole succession of open crises. It is high time that some attempt be made to analyse what basic developments in the Conservative decade of the 1950s have culminated in the complex crisis of recent years. This is vital, too, . . . read more
Continental Capitalism and the Common Market
The crisis between England and France aroused intense anxiety in Europe about the future of the Common Market. In one way or another, all France’s partners appeared to be bent upon a rupture with her. Yet, after a pause of some days, the Brussels machinery was working normally . . . read more
An expert committee under Sir Robert Hall has just demonstrated that road traffic—which has already doubled in density since 1952—will certainly double again by 1980, and may treble. At the same time, Dr. Beeching submits a Report to the Government, which, in order to “save money”, envisages a . . . read more
Post-War Britain and the Common Market
If in the affairs of a man or a nation a time comes when all possible choices appear distasteful or fraught with grave danger, it is useful, indeed essential, to reflect on how one got into the embarrassment. Past choices, past mistakes, may well illuminate the problem more . . . read more
Fun While It Lasted
August 1961 may or may not go down in the books as a turning point in our own and European political and economic history. Whether we go into the Common Market, whether many others follow us if we do, and how that institution will finally turn out . . . read more
After the Budget
selwyn lloyd’s hour of glory must have seemed sadly brief. The Monday evening was his alright, with press and TV too bemused by detail to venture criticism at such short notice. Messrs. Carron and Woodcock tried weakly—they had clearly not done their homework. By next morning the . . . read more
Socialism and Affluence
harry hanson’s arguments (“Socialism And Affluence”, NLR 5) are remarkably like those of Tony Gosland in the October issue of Encounter, though his conclusions are quite different. Unfortunately, while Crosland’s conclusions follow logically from his analysis, Hanson’s are so loosely attached to the body of his argument . . . read more
The Commanding Heights
In Part 1 of this article, John Hughes depicts the contemporary landscape of power with its commanding heights. He attacks the popular myth that ownership is no longer relevant, and pinpoints the particular forms of social irresponsibility taken by private bureaucratic power in the economy. read more
Shipbuilding up the Creek
last year, PEP produced a dispassionate and critical pamphlet about the deplorable state of British shipbuilding. The leaders of the industry reacted like cavalry generals who had just been told by Capt. Liddell Hart that the tank was here to stay: they refused to be driven into . . . read more
Men and Motors
This article—the first of two on the motor industry—discusses trade union structure and organisation, the tangled pattern of wages, the role of the shop steward, the problem of automation, and the political attitudes of motor workers in the Midlands. Much of the factual industrial and trade union . . . read more
The Nation’s Coal
the policies now being pursued by the National Coal Board in the coalfields are fraught with danger, both for the coal industry and the national economy. They stem from the government’s fuel and power policy, which in the name of ‘competition’ produces a tangle of conflicting and . . . read more