The rise and fall of neoliberal capitalism

David M. 1943- Kotz

Book - 2015

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Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press 2015.
Physical Description
xiii, 270 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
David M. 1943- Kotz (-)
Review by Choice Reviews

Neoliberal capitalism is a relatively laissez-faire system of private ownership and accumulation with minimal government intervention.  It arose in the 1980s, primarily in the US and UK, and is characterized by a global reach and financial integration.  Kotz (Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst) contrasts neoliberal capitalism (1979-2007) with its predecessor, regulated capitalism (1948-73), in order to explain the development of the financial crisis and subsequent recession that began in the US in 2007, which he views as the greatest challenge for neoliberal capitalism to date.  His neo-Marxian analysis is set within a historical treatment of US political economy and offers a wealth of institutional comparisons and economic data in its discussion of the unique characteristics of the recent period.  The empirical analysis is set within a theoretical framework in which the institutions of capitalism are punctuated by crises that result in new institutional forms that attempt to resolve those crises.  The goal of the book is to explain how neoliberal institutions gave rise to the financial crisis; while Kotz does not attempt to predict Western capitalism's next institutional form, he offers a number of reasonable and insightful considerations about its possible future directions. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above; general readers. --J. Gerber, San Diego State University James Gerber San Diego State University Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

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Review by Publisher Summary 2

Kotz presents an accessible historical and analytical account of neoliberal capitalism in the U.S., aiming to make the underlying causes of our current economic problems clear as well as providing a basis for evaluating possible solutions to the economic problems we now face. He offers an explanation of the key developments since 1980: the sharp turn in the economy, decades of rising economic inequality, reduced public services, the economic crisis of 2008 and the slow recovery. There are seven chapters: introduction; what is neoliberalism?; the rise of neoliberal capitalism; how has neoliberal capitalism worked?; crisis; lesions of history; possible future paths. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The financial and economic collapse that began in the United States in 2008 and spread to the rest of the world continues to burden the global economy. David Kotz, who was one of the few academic economists to predict it, argues that the ongoing economic crisis is not simply the aftermath of financial panic and an unusually severe recession but instead is a structural crisis of neoliberal, or free-market, capitalism. Consequently, continuing stagnation cannot be resolved by policy measures alone. It requires major institutional restructuring.Kotz analyzes the reasons for the rise of free-market ideas, policies, and institutions beginning around 1980. He shows how the neoliberal capitalism that resulted was able to produce a series of long although tepid economic expansions, punctuated by relatively brief recessions, as well as a low rate of inflation. This created the impression of a “Great Moderation.” However, the very same factors that promoted long expansions and low inflation—growing inequality, an increasingly risk-seeking financial sector, and a series of large asset bubbles—were not only objectionable in themselves but also put the economy on an unsustainable trajectory. Kotz interprets the current push for austerity as an attempt to deepen and preserve neoliberal capitalism. However, both economic theory and history suggest that neither austerity measures nor other policy adjustments can bring another period of stable economic expansion. Kotz considers several possible directions of economic restructuring, concluding that significant economic change is likely in the years ahead.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The collapse that began in 2008 continues to burden the world economy. David Kotz, one of the few academic economists to predict it, argues that the ongoing crisis is not simply the aftermath of financial panic and severe recession but is a structural crisis of neoliberal capitalism whose resolution will require major institutional restructuring.