Thursday, 12 April 2018

Wolfgang Streeck

Belated realised that I never blogged about How Will Capitalism End by Wolfgang Streeck, which I read some time last year. There are loads of interesting ideas in there, even if don't agree with some of it. Anyway, here's a little excerpt from the introduction:

"[U]nder financialised capitalism the private vice of greed in no longer magically converted into a public virtue - depriving capitalism of even its last, consequentialist moral justification. Stylizing owners and managers of capital as trustees of society has lost any remaining credibility, their much-publicised exercises in philanthropy notwithstanding. A pervasive cynicism has become deeply engrained in the collective common sense, which has come as a matter of course to regard capitalism as nothing but an institutionalised opportunity for the well-connected super-rich to become even richer. Corruption... is considered a fact of life, and so is steadily growing inequality and the monopolisation of political influence by a small self-serving oligarchy and its army of wealth defence specialists. Converting public trust into private cash has become routine and is seen as such, effectively rendering the social order morally defenceless in possible future moments of open contestation. Elite calls for trust and appeals to shared values can no longer be expected to resonate with a populace nursed on materialistic-utilitarian self-descriptions of a society in which everything is and ought to be for sale. Morally defenceless as they have rendered themselves, political and economic elites will require great creativity if things came to a head and they had to mobilise legitimacy for themselves and the social order they represent. One symptom of growing instability of the democratic-capitalist system is the rise of so-called populist parties, of both the Left and the Right, feeding on and fortifying a deeply emotional rejection of existing social elites."  

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