After the Left . . .

Each crisis, though produced by the same underlying mechanism, occurs under novel circumstances. This one finds capitalism without two important features of the past: on the one hand, what are called Keynesian counter-cyclical measures seem to have been largely exhausted. On the other, the Left that existed from the middle of the nineteenth century to the later twentieth century, no longer exists. (These two are related, of course, as central streams of the Left looked to the state’s supplanting of private capitalism as the needed response to economic crisis.) Thus this is the first crisis without a Left, a situation that bears some reflection.

Paul Mattick was editor of the International Journal of Political Economy from 1987-2006 and is the author of Business as Usual: The Economic Crisis and the Failure of Capitalism (forthcoming in February 2011).

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October 19, 2010