The Economic Crisis and American Society

The Economic Crisis and American Society

Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 300
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  • Book Info
    The Economic Crisis and American Society
    Book Description:

    Taking a hard look at the crisis afflicting Western economies in recent years, Manuel Castells suggests that the very structures that fostered economic growth since 1945 are the same structures that are now undermining these economics. Pinpointing the new forms of the capitalist mode of production and the contradictory nature of its class relations as the root of the problem, he offers a comprehensive critique of American society and its economy.

    Originally published in 1980.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5347-2
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-ix)
    (pp. x-xi)
    (pp. xii-xii)
    (pp. xiii-2)
    (pp. 3-13)

    The shadow of the crisis spreads over the world. Beyond the effects of temporary variations of the business cycle, the daily life of people in most countries is being shaped by the economic crisis of the 1970s and its lasting effects on the world capitalist system.

    Closed factories, empty offices, millions of unemployed, days of hunger, declining cities, crowded hospitals, ailing administrations, explosions of violence, ideologies of austerity, fatuous discourses, popular revolts, new political strategies, old political conflicts, hopes, fears, promises, threats, manipulation, mobilization, repression, fearful stock markets, militant labor unions, disturbed computers, nervous policemen, stunned economists, subtle politicians, rampaging...

  7. 1 Toward a Social Theory of Economic Crises in Advanced Capitalism
    (pp. 14-77)

    The crisis shaking the capitalist world in the 1970s is multidimensional, political and ideological as well as economic. Consequently, the only useful explanatory framework is one able to integrate these different levels of social reality within the perspective of a contradictory historical development. The Marxist tradition is, to our knowledge, the only one that even attempts to put together the movement of capital and the process of social change as jointly determined by class struggles over production, consumption, power, and cultural values. Therefore, we will rely on this tradition to construct a tentative theoretical scheme capable of providing us with...

  8. 2 What Happened: The Roots and the Development of the Economic Crisis in the United States
    (pp. 78-137)

    The worst economic crisis of American capitalism since World War II openly appeared in 1974. It was characterized by the simultaneous spread of stagnation, unemployment, and inflationary pressure. After a short recovery in 1973, the balance of payment continued its deteriorating trend. Corporation profits fell dramatically, and capital consequently reduced its investment plans. Figures 5, 6, 7, and 8 provide some indications of the acuteness of the cycle’s downturn. From the beginning the crisis was considered serious because for the first time since the 1930s the business cycle was synchronized throughout the world, reinforcing the tendencies toward recession in all...

  9. 3 Capitalist Contradictions and Class Relationships in the American Social Structure
    (pp. 138-214)

    The economic crisis, which has developed as a consequence of structural conditions triggered by the process of capital accumulation, results from contradictions that are an expression of social relationships of production, distribution, and management. The policies that will be used to deal with the crisis will be determined less by structural requirements than by the political process of American society (even if the possible alternatives and the specific problems are structurally conditioned). This political process will be largely determined by the interplay of political and ideological factors with the structural positions of different social groups in the process of production...

  10. 4 Class Interests, Policies for the Crisis, and the Political Process
    (pp. 215-254)

    We have seen that the “economic crisis” is, in fact, a social process. Therefore, its treatment will also be a social process. Each month economists look at “leading indicators” as if they were meteorologists trying to predict the weather for the weekend or a natural storm of uncontrollable origin. In fact, the evolution of the crisis and its impact on the social structure and the dynamics of U.S. society will depend on the interaction between the structural social contradictions it reveals and the policies used to counteract the effects of the crisis. By policies we mean a series of articulated...

  11. CONCLUSION Twilight of American Capitalism?
    (pp. 255-264)

    The economic crisis has produced profound effects on American society and has altered the social relationships that gave rise to it. Are we at a historical turning point? Is the crisis of the seventies the beginning of American decline, as the 1929-1933 crisis sounded the knell for the hegemony of British capital? Do we find ourselves at the threshold of a new world? Which one? And through what processes will it be shaped?

    During these last few years many observers have insisted, as we have done ourselves, that American hegemony has been deteriorating at the economic as well as the...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 265-278)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 279-285)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 286-286)