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Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios

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Exit strategies from the current financial crisis that may lead us toward a new horizon of constructing the common.Crisis in the Global Economy is the latest and most innovative collective reflection on the state of global capitalism, developed in the mobile "multiversity" of the UniNomade network of international researchers and activists during the months immediately fol Exit strategies from the current financial crisis that may lead us toward a new horizon of constructing the common.Crisis in the Global Economy is the latest and most innovative collective reflection on the state of global capitalism, developed in the mobile "multiversity" of the UniNomade network of international researchers and activists during the months immediately following the first signals of the current financial and economic crisis. It constitutes the first organic and interdisciplinary attempt to analyze a crisis that is not merely financial in nature but implicates globalization and neoliberal capitalism. Crisis in the Global Economy begins with the recognition that the current financial crisis is a systemic crisis of the entire capitalistic system as it has been developing since the 1890s. Taking as its premise that today's financial markets are the pulsing heart of cognitive capitalism, financing the activity of accumulation, Crisis in the Global Economy shows how the flow of capital rewards production that exploits knowledge and controls spaces beyond traditional business. The ineffectiveness of the extraordinary economic measures taken by single nation-states over the past few months demonstrates that this crisis is of a completely different order. A financial crisis that affects the "real economy" shows that financialization is one of the most recent and perverse articulations of capitalism. The contributions to Crisis in the Global Economy invite us to consider exit strategies from the current crisis--strategies that may lead us toward a new horizon of constructing the common.


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Exit strategies from the current financial crisis that may lead us toward a new horizon of constructing the common.Crisis in the Global Economy is the latest and most innovative collective reflection on the state of global capitalism, developed in the mobile "multiversity" of the UniNomade network of international researchers and activists during the months immediately fol Exit strategies from the current financial crisis that may lead us toward a new horizon of constructing the common.Crisis in the Global Economy is the latest and most innovative collective reflection on the state of global capitalism, developed in the mobile "multiversity" of the UniNomade network of international researchers and activists during the months immediately following the first signals of the current financial and economic crisis. It constitutes the first organic and interdisciplinary attempt to analyze a crisis that is not merely financial in nature but implicates globalization and neoliberal capitalism. Crisis in the Global Economy begins with the recognition that the current financial crisis is a systemic crisis of the entire capitalistic system as it has been developing since the 1890s. Taking as its premise that today's financial markets are the pulsing heart of cognitive capitalism, financing the activity of accumulation, Crisis in the Global Economy shows how the flow of capital rewards production that exploits knowledge and controls spaces beyond traditional business. The ineffectiveness of the extraordinary economic measures taken by single nation-states over the past few months demonstrates that this crisis is of a completely different order. A financial crisis that affects the "real economy" shows that financialization is one of the most recent and perverse articulations of capitalism. The contributions to Crisis in the Global Economy invite us to consider exit strategies from the current crisis--strategies that may lead us toward a new horizon of constructing the common.

32 review for Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios

  1. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm

    It started out as a problem in some US banks where it appeared that some mortgages made to low income home owners were not sustainable, yet before long customers were leaving banks in droves or they were going out of business (Northern Rock, Bear Stearns), national governments were pumping huge sums of money into banks to sustain them, several states were near bankrupt (or in the case of Iceland, actually bankrupt), the global economy seemed to be in crisis – and we were obsessed by the size of It started out as a problem in some US banks where it appeared that some mortgages made to low income home owners were not sustainable, yet before long customers were leaving banks in droves or they were going out of business (Northern Rock, Bear Stearns), national governments were pumping huge sums of money into banks to sustain them, several states were near bankrupt (or in the case of Iceland, actually bankrupt), the global economy seemed to be in crisis – and we were obsessed by the size of bankers’ bonuses while the ‘problem’ was widely held to be bankers’ greed (as demonstrated by the size of their bonuses). Yet underpinning this crisis was an inconceivable and bizarre set of economic circumstances. These ‘dodgy’ US mortgages had been repacked into bundles of ‘securitised’ debt and sold on to other financial institutions as part of complex and perplexing investment deals (some of the securitised debt bundles included insurance against the collapse of capitalism – which at the time caused me to wonder who could or would be able to pay out, but now ironically seems to have helped contribute to what seems to be a collapse of capitalism). Amid all of this our political powers-that-be seem to insist that they have the answer, and it lies in supporting the banking industry (which we need to understand as code for the finance capitalism – of which the banks are the façade). One of the consequences of this crisis and the trite answer of the powers-that-be, a solution that is quite clearly not working (after all, the total liabilities bundled into these debt swaps seem to have been around 11 times more that global GDP; there is no way states can simply shore up their local economies when those kinds of proportions are involved), has been a renewed interest in economic and political economic issues from those of us on the left, and in doing so attention in many cases to new ways of conceiving and conceptualising what left-wing economics might look like for the new economy. This book is the outcome of one of those attempts to look carefully at what is going on, how we might explain it and what we can do about it. In this series of essays, based for the most part on a seminar of people working in the Italian ‘workerist’ tradition – a tendency in Italian Marxist and anarchism that emphasises the significance of class – explore the character of contemporary finance capitalism, but not in a narrow technocratic or econometric manner that is the predominant form of liberal and capitalist economics. So, although there is a clear focus on issues such as the shape and form of debt (this is the most econometric paper, one that many readers will find difficult), and on the operation of markets there is also a strong focus on issues of governance, again not in econometric or market governance terms, but in terms of what happens to practices of governance when the distinction between designated work time and labour breaks down, what happens in cognitive capitalism when we are never not-at-work because we are our tools of trade (and, as several of us in different contexts have been arguing for some time, life itself is put to work). So, amid the Marxist and anarchist economic theory there is a healthy dose of Foucault, on biopower and biopolitics (I have to confess, some of the more intensely Focauldian stuff didn’t engage me all that much – along with the econometric paper on debt and financialisation, I got most of it, it just didn’t ‘work’ for me). The collection is brimming over with good ideas – not necessarily right ideas, but some really good, inspiring and challenging ideas. I like, for instance, Christian Marazzi’s distinction between anthropogenic production and environmental despoilation – it is a rich and provocative juxtaposition – or his case that expropriation of the commons produced a set of ‘fictive commodities’, or his argument that the tendency of profit to rent (the becoming-rent of profit) is linked to an emphasis on distribution rather than production. Peppered throughout the book is a motif of the subsumption of a social being to capital, and the repeated notion that the commons sit at the centre of political and economic debates and struggles. In a collectively authored piece, there is a sharp and perhaps the clearest definition of key processes in cognitive capitalism I have read: “valorisation tends to be triggered in different forms of labour that cut the effectively certified work hours to increasingly coincide with the overall time of life” (p 239) – that is, in cognitive capitalism, value is greatest when we are always at work – when life itself is put to work. Negri, in his conclusion, also has a nice turn of phrase when he suggests political struggles are about “overturning the ‘communism of capital’ into the ‘communism of the general intellect’" (p 261): this idea of the ‘general intellect’, as the commons of cognitive capitalism, is also a recurring motif, just as Karl Polyani is a recurring figure implicit and explicit in different places. So, not only is this brimming with good ideas, but also with good writing (for the most part). The essays I found most engaging were the first three – Christian Marazzi on the violence of financial capitalism, Andrea Fumagali on socioeconomic governance in the context of current global economic crisis and Carlo Vercellone’s fabulous paper, drawing on Volume III of Capital, about crises in how we understand value and the current tendency of profit to become rent – it is, I admit, a fairly obscure question but it is crucial to understanding both finance capitalism and understanding what is happening to those of us who work in the ‘cognitive industries’ such as academia and many of cultural industries, including but not only IT. Karl Heinz Roth’s fabulous chapter about global proletarianisation and resistance suffers only from being very specific to its time (it was written in this form in 2008, about a year before the others in the collection) but it still has power in terms of the models it deploys, even if the specific political-economic conditions are different. Conversely, the collectively authored ’10 these on the financial crisis’ are much more general, aggregative of much of the work included in the collection and elsewhere, and seem to consciously set out to be broadly programmatic and to develop demands and tactics that are beyond the social democratic and reformist. I have notes scribbled throughout the book (on post-its, I must add – I won’t write on the book!) and know that I will continue to come back to these pieces that place at the core of their politics the commons, the need to defend and reclaim control of the ‘general intellect’, of the question of rent and rentier economies, and make a forceful argument that cognitive capitalism (an emerging powerful form) cannot reproduce itself. Amid all this, the essays are also highly attuned to global economic balances, making the point in the ‘10 theses’ that a key global imbalance is the dominance of finance capital by the ‘west’ (despite the US reliance on China to allow it to maintain a debt ridden economy) and the dominance of manufacturing by forces in the global South (especially but not only India and China) while also being in the position that finance capital has outsourced its technical skills to that South. This geopolitical imbalance means fundamental conflict-based change is highly likely. This is never going to be a big seller, and not really something to put aside for a Christmas (or whatever festival you celebrate) gift, and it is demanding – but the essays are very good and the collection extremely valuable (and frankly, damned important). This is one of the few things I have read in the last few years that gets beyond symptoms and reformist responses to grapple with fundamentals in a way that not only casts new light on a long terms and profound political-economic crisis, but posits ways out through mass action and inclusive internationalist political struggle of the dispossessed. Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adhiraaj Ray

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tansel

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alex Means

  5. 5 out of 5

    Funda Guzer

  6. 4 out of 5

    Leticia

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

  8. 5 out of 5

    abcdefg

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Schulz

  11. 4 out of 5

    Seleno

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  13. 4 out of 5

    Le Hoang

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pat

  15. 5 out of 5

    Clayborn

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ibnu Najib

  17. 5 out of 5

    Uglysbjct

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ziga Podgornik-jakil

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve Kas

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

  21. 5 out of 5

    S

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aim0o

  25. 5 out of 5

    Priyadarshni Seenuvasan

  26. 4 out of 5

    James Mullard

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hlmencken

  28. 5 out of 5

    Billy Candelaria

  29. 5 out of 5

    c_hurik

  30. 5 out of 5

    maria

  31. 5 out of 5

    Hallelujah

  32. 4 out of 5

    Korri

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