358 pages | 1 B/W Illus.
Following the 2008 "global" financial crisis, the viability of globalised financial capitalism was called into question. The resulting fear and uncertainty produced a momentary return to "Keynesian" policies. But as soon as emergency stimuli – and bank bail-outs – appeared to stabilise the situation, there was a sharp reversal; and successive British governments and the financial sector have since attempted to return to business as usual.
Historically, much smaller shocks have been able to produce dramatic change, with the 1978 "Winter of Discontent" providing a catalyst for the election of Margaret Thatcher, the ultimate abandonment of the post-war Keynesian consensus, and the ushering-in of neoliberalism. Nor is apparent success a guarantee against change, with Winston Churchill being swept from office by the first majority Labour government in 1945 – at a point which should have marked his greatest triumph.
In this book, these apparently inexplicable shifts in the conventional wisdom and the accompanying policy paradigm are explored through the lens of the interest groups that have jostled for position since the second industrial revolution. In this context, inequality, poverty, free market capitalism and the social welfare state have interacted in an uneasy, dynamic dance – the "insecurity cycle". The authors explore these interactions, their impact on the relationship between society and the economy, and the possible implications of Brexit and a re-energised political left.
Written in an engaging and accessible style, Labour, Finance and Inequality will be a key resource for academics and students of social and political economics as well as public policy. It will also offer considerable insight to policy makers and a more general non-specialist audience.
Preface and Acknowledgments, Chapter 1: Introduction, Chapter 2: The Influence of the Legal and Institutional Framework, Chapter 3: The Economy and Society Diverge – Setting up the Insecurity Cycle, Chapter 4: The State Steps in – and then back out again, Chapter 5: More Problems with Capitalism – but new ideas are slow to gain traction, Chapter 6: A Change of Ideology – But Capital Undermines Keynes, Chapter 7: Keynes versus "Keynesianism" – Liberalism Resurrected, Chapter 8: Neoliberalism Entrenched, Chapter 9: The 2008 Financial Crisis – A crisis of neoliberalism or just another financial crisis?, Chapter 10: Britain and the European Union, Chapter 11: Conclusions – When might the insecurity move again?, References, Index
The 2007-8 Banking Crash has induced a major and wide-ranging discussion on the subject of financial (in)stability and a need to revaluate theory and policy. The response of policy-makers to the crisis has been to refocus fiscal and monetary policy on financial stabilisation and reconstruction. However, this has been done with only vague ideas of bank recapitalisation and ‘Keynesian’ reflation aroused by the exigencies of the crisis, rather than the application of any systematic theory or theories of financial instability.
Routledge Critical Studies in Finance and Stability, edited by Jan Toporowski from SOAS, University of London covers a range of issues in the area of finance including instability, systemic failure, financial macroeconomics in the vein of Hyman P. Minsky, Ben Bernanke and Mark Gertler, central bank operations, financial regulation, developing countries and financial crises, new portfolio theory and New International Monetary and Financial Architecture.