Can Capitalists Afford Economic Growth?
Despite the global dominance of capitalism, economic growth continues to trend downward. Mainstream economists blame the slowdown on various ‘distortions’, but as this animation shows, the reality is quite different. Capitalists seek not more income per se, but greater power-through-redistribution, which they achieve by strategically stymying growth.
00:00 Introduction: where did all the growth go?
01:26 The conventional creed: “growth is the key measure of economic health”
01:46 The American slowdown: how have capitalists and workers fared?
04:22 The dogma’s underlying utilitarian assumptions
04:56 Some inconvenient data
05:40 Capital as Power
06:01 Two social groups: (1) workers, the unemployed, and those not in the labour force.
06:30 (2) Capitalist motivation: differential power
07:43 Unemployment as an accurate leading indicator of capitalist differential power
08:47 Revisiting the social consensus in favour of economic growth
09:11 The historical record
09:26 Growth is an integral component of the capitalist mode of power
09:51 Conclusion: continuous economic growth is not in the forecast
This animation is based on Nitzan and Bichler’s 2014 paper, ‘Can Capitalists Afford Recovery? Three Views on Economic Policy in Times of Crisis’, Review of Capital as Power, 1(1, October): 110-155.
The Bichler & Nitzan Archives can be accessed here:
Supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
© Elvire Thouvenot, 2019
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