Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Book: Bonfire of Illusions

Bonfire of Illusions: The twin crises of the liberal world
By Alex Callinicos (Kings College London)

Something dramatic happened in the late summer and autumn of 2008. The post-Cold War world came to an abrupt end. This was the result of two conjoined crises. First, in its brief war with Georgia in August 2008,
Russia asserted its military power to halt the expansion of NATO to
its very borders. Secondly, on 15 September 2008 the Wall Street
investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed. This precipitated a severe
financial crash and helped to push the world economy into the worst
slump since the 1930s.

Both crises marked a severe setback for the global power of the United
States, which had driven NATO expansion and forced through the
liberalization of financial markets. More broadly they challenged the
consensus that had reigned since the collapse of the Soviet bloc in
1989 that a US-orchestrated liberal capitalist order could offer the
world peace and prosperity. Already badly damaged by the Iraq debacle, this consensus has now suffered potentially fatal blows.

In Bonfire of Illusions Alex Callinicos explores these twin crises. He traces the credit crunch that developed in 2007-8 to a much more
protracted crisis of overaccumulation and profitability that has
gripped global capitalism since the late 1960s. He also confronts the
interaction between economic and geopolitical events, highlighting the
new assertiveness of nation-states and analysing the tense, complex
relationship of interdependence and conflict that binds together the
US and China. Finally, in response to the revelation that the market
is not the solution to the world's problems, Callinicos reviews the
prospects for alternatives to capitalism.

"The crisis of 2007-9 is an event of historic importance that has
affected economy, society and politics. Callinicos analyses its causes
within the broader development of capitalism in recent decades.
Particularly relevant is his stress on financialisation as well as the
implications he draws regarding the balance of imperial power across
the world. Written with the author's customary skill, this is a
welcome contribution from the left to the public debate."

Costas Lapavitsas, SOAS, University of London

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At 3:09 am, Blogger John Steinsvold said...

An Alternative to Capitalism (which we need here in the USA)

Several decades ago, Margaret Thatcher claimed: "There is no alternative". She was referring to capitalism. Today, this negative attitude still persists.

I would like to offer an alternative to capitalism for the American people to consider. Please click on the following link. It will take you to an essay titled: "Home of the Brave?" which was published by the Athenaeum Library of Philosophy:


John Steinsvold

Perhaps in time the so-called dark ages will be thought of as including our own.
--Georg C. Lichtenberg


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