Capitalism’s shifting centre

Mick Hume at Spiked Online has a wide-ranging essay on changing trends in the world economy.

One of his interesting arguments is that the decline of class conflict has contributed to a shallower business cycle.

Hume relates this to the shift of economic growth to East Asia. I think this point deserves even more emphasis than he has given it.

The great French historian Fernand Braudel once observed that the economies that lead the world into recession often lead the boom that comes afterwards. He had in mind America in the 1930s, but the Asian crisis of the late 1990s might turn out to be another example.

Also, Immanuel Wallerstein has argued that class conflict is most pronounced in the most successful economies. This makes intutitive sense, since nationalism would tend to present itself as an alternative strategy in weaker countries, as can readily be observed.

This would suggest that the lack of class conflict in the west is a symptom of relative decline and the rise of Asia will be accompanied by more political and economic volatility in the region.






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