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Business as UsualThe Roots of the Global Financial Meltdown$
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Craig Calhoun and Georgi Derluguian

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814772775

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814772775.001.0001

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Crisis, Underconsumption, and Social Policy

Crisis, Underconsumption, and Social Policy

(p.159) Chapter 6 Crisis, Underconsumption, and Social Policy
Business as Usual

Caglar Keyder

NYU Press

This chapter stresses social reproduction at the level of not just the nation-state but also the world system, stressing that the dynamics of the current crisis come largely from underconsumption. Absent major government interventions, there is no guarantee that capitalists will invest in forms of production that serve the everyday needs of majority populations (let alone the very poor). And in the last several decades, governments have not counteracted capitalist tendencies to inequality but exacerbated them in the name of neoliberal freedom from regulation and constraint. Not surprisingly, the distributions of wealth and income have become much more unequal. The chapter argues that failure to expand consumption is one of the reasons for overreliance on financial sources of profit. The current crisis is an opportunity for social democracy to regain the initiative after neoliberalism has so strikingly faltered, though this is hardly guaranteed.

Keywords:   underconsumption, social democracy, neoliberalism, economic inequality, social reproduction

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