This short book makes a connection between recent ‘tectonic shifts’ in the world economy and the political problems currently confronted by western democracies.
The shift of manufacturing away from the West allied to the pressure to keep costs down in an increasingly competitive global economy, has led to economic inequality, reliance on service industry employment and public sector austerity. All this has in turn produced large numbers of desperate citizens attracted to a populist economic nationalism accompanied by xenophobia. However, the originality of this text lies not in the above argument, but in the philosophical reflections which drive and derive from it. These include reflections on history as a supposed causal process; on the need to make ethical judgements of economic activities and the difficulties of doing so; and on the problems confronting modern citizens in understanding complex economic processes and their political implications.
Capitalism and Democracy in the 21st Century endorses Wittgenstein’s ‘praxis’ approach to human social life and its study. Accordingly, it not only analyses economic and political problems but suggests ways of solving or mitigating them. In doing so it relies on Marx’s conviction that our capacity to see certain phenomena as problems is at least a priori evidence that they can be solved. This book will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students of politics, comparative politics, political economy, and international relations.
"Gavin Kitching has written a readable and accessible introduction to questions concerning economic inequality, globalisation, and the contemporary problems of capitalism and democracy. Kitching goes beyond an exploration of these issues to develop proposals for regulating global capitalism. This book should be essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the impact of transnational capitalism on inequality and democracy." Marc Williams, UNSW Sydney.
"Gavin Kitching is a clear and courageous thinker, who brings philosophy, ethics, history and economics together in an analysis of the future of democracy that gives us lucid reasons for hope." — Michael Ignatieff, President, Central European University
1. The Present and the Future
2. The Lasting Significance of Our Present
3. Contemporary Capitalism and Possible Futures
5. Globalisation, Austerity and the Intensification of Competition
6. Nationalist Democracy
7. Globalisation and Democratic Legitimacy
8. Democracy’s Achilles Heel
9. Economic Growth, Dangers and Possibilities
10. Regulating a Globalised Capitalism
11. Conclusions: A Human Future