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Daily Archives: January 9th, 2012

Capitalist Trickle Down Theory


The Restructuring of Capitalism in Our Time by William K. Tabb, Columbia University Press, 2012 (now available)

Actions taken by the United States and other countries during the Great Recession focused on restoring the viability of major financial institutions while guaranteeing debt and stimulating growth. Once the markets stabilized, the United States enacted regulatory reforms that ultimately left basic economic structures unchanged. At the same time, the political class pursued austerity measures to curb the growing national debt. Drawing on the economic theories of Keynes and Minsky and applying them to the modern evolution of American banking and finance, William K. Tabb offers a chilling prediction about future crises and the structural factors inhibiting true reform

Tabb follows the rise of banking practices and financial motives in America over the past thirty years and the simultaneous growth of a shadow industry of hedge funds, private equity firms, and financial innovations such as derivatives. He marks the shift from an American economy based primarily on the production of goods and nonfinancial services to one characterized by financialization, and then shows how these developments, perspectives, and approaches not only contributed to the recent financial crisis but also prevented the enactment of effective regulatory reform. He incisively analyzes the damage that increasing unsustainable debt and excessive risk-taking has done to our financial system and expands his critique to a discussion of world systems and globalization. Calling out the wilful blind spots of mainstream finance theory, Tabb moves beyond an economic model reliant on debt expansion and dangerous levels of leverage, proposing instead a social structure of accumulation that places economic justice over profit and, more practically, institutes an inclusive, sustainable model for growth.

William K. Tabb is professor emeritus of economics at Queens College and professor emeritus of economics, political science, and sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He has been a  visiting professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and scholar in residence at Kansai University, Osaka, Japan. He is also the author of Economic Governance in the Age of  Globalization.

Praise for The Restructuring of Capitalism in Our Time

“An incisive analysis of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, this book ranges over topics that transcend the narrow confines of traditional specialists, producing an overall analysis of the origins, development, and implications of financialization that will be discussed intently by scholars today and in years to come.”—Martin Wolfson, University of Notre Dame

“Of all the many books on the economic crisis, this is the best. William K. Tabb has absolute command of his subject and provides the clearest account yet of the financial folly that has brought the United States to its knees. Eminently readable and reasonable, his book cuts through the clouds of obfuscation by politicians and economists alike to draw a clear lesson: financialization is a cancer running through the American economy, one that continues to suck the life out of industry, corrupt capitalists, and Congress, generating more froth than real growth or jobs. A wonderful book and a real pleasure to read.”—Richard Walker, University of California, Berkeley, and author of The Capitalist Imperative: Territory, Technology, and Industrial Growth


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