Posts Tagged 'recession'

Bonfire of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liiberal World, by Alex Callinicos

Plenty of illusions but no bonfire. The problem with this book’s title – acknowledged by Callinicos – is that the ruling neoliberal ideology is very much alive and kicking. Fixing as his point of departure the timely conjunction of the financial meltdown of 2008 and the Russia-Georgia war, the author argues that these events marked the end of the post-Cold War epoch of unipolar US supremacy and neoliberal orthodoxy. A detailed accounting of the financial crisis, informed by an understanding of falling profit rates, gives way to a weaker outline of geopolitical strategy that frequently reiterates the earlier economic arguments. SS

Polity; 2010; 179 pages

Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America, by Patrick Carr and Maria Kefalas

A unique and fascinating perspective on the effects of the recent economic trends on America’s ‘fly-over’ states. Sociologists Patrick Carr and Maria Kefalas move to a small town in rural Iowa to investigate parallel and symbiotic phenomena: ‘brain drain’, a cycle of encouraging the best and brightest to fulfill their potential by leaving the small town in favour of larger cities with more opportunities; simultaneously, as unskilled labour moves from the American heartland to countries such as China and Mexico in order to increase profits for shareholders, entire ‘brain-drained’ communities collapse overnight, leaving families without income and workers without options. MEL

Beacon Press; 2009; 224 pages

Where the Other Half Lives: Lower Income Housing in a Neoliberal World, by Sarah Glynn (ed.)

This collection, as timely as it is readable, offers an excellent account of this key site of class struggle and hums with insight, anger and strategic perspective. Glynn in particular is passionate but never romantic, and remains firmly rooted in a class analysis of the aggressive global intensification of market relations since the 1980s. Whilst not all the contributions achieve her rigour, the internationally comparative breadth is admirable. But tenants never become merely passive victims of cutbacks, and possibilities for workers’ resistance are as prominent as the mad and inhuman outcomes of commodified solutions to the human need for shelter. AB

Pluto Press; 2009; 340 pages

Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed, by Paul Mason

This is a superb primer on the economic crisis of 2009 for anyone who wants to get a better handle on the immediate causes of the financial meltdown that at one stage threatened to plunge the world into another great depression. Mason, economics correspondent for the BBC’s Newsnight, begins with a colourful first-hand survey of the day-by-day drama of the crisis from what he saw on Wall Street and Washington. He identifies the deeper roots of the crisis in financialization, the ‘subprime’ housing boom and, ultimately, neoliberal economics. His prescriptions are somewhat weak, however; he recommends merely a revamped Keynesianism. SS

Verso; 2009; 198 pages


Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers. George Orwell

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