Sunday, August 23rd, 2015

In the words of Gerard Dumenil, a Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, it reflected a “structural crisis,” such as those affecting the course of capitalism about every forty years, namely the late 19th century, the Great Depression, and the 1970. Above all else, it reflects a crisis in the prevailing neo-liberal paradigm, which has dominated policy-making for the past 40 years. According to Dumenil, neoliberalism is a social order, a new form of capitalism, that can be explained by recognising that there are now three classes or “social orders” in contemporary capitalism: the capitalists; the “popular class” made up of wage workers and lower-level salaried employees; and in between there is what Dumenil describes as the “managerial class”. The social order changes when the managerial class sides with one or other of the other two. Thus in the 1930s and in the post war period, the managerial class sided with the popular class against the capitalist class and we had the welfare state etc. In the neoliberal era, the managerial class has sided with the capitalist financial class and the popular class has been on the back foot. With the crisis of neoliberalism, we could look to a new realignment of this ‘social order’, with the managers swinging back again toward the popular class as their position continues to be eroded and their standards of living threatened.


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