Since 2008, we have found ourselves confronted by an historic financial holocaust that world leaders have struggled to come to terms with. All have willfully ignored its long-term, systemic causes and are thus unable to chart a way to survival. As explained by Harry Shutt - who was almost alone in foreseeing such a disaster in the 1990s (in The Trouble with Capitalism) their continued denial stems from a vested interest in maintaining a capitalist profits system which is not only as destructive as it was in the 1930s but as outmoded as feudalism was in 1789. Thus it can now only be sustained by an increasing reliance to official misinformation, massive criminal fraud and the ever greater dependence of private corporations on state subsidy.
This book makes clear why the desperate resort of Western governments to 'extraordinary measures' to try and avert economic collapse is bound to fail. It also forcefully demonstrates why our only hope of reversing the tide is to abandon the traditional economic logic of endlessly expanding production in favour of responding to the aspirations of ordinary people. Such a transformation, argues Shutt, would make possible the allocation of resources to more socially desirable ends, including the assurance of basic economic security for all as a right of citizenship.
Harry Shutt was educated at Oxford and Warwick Universities. He worked for six years in the Development and Planning Division of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). He then moved to the Research Department of the General and Municipal Workers' Union (1973-76) and subsequently became Chief Economist at the Fund for Research and Investment for the Development of Africa (1977-79). Since then he has been an independent economic consultant. His books include 'The Myth of Free Trade: Patterns of Protectionism Since 1945', (Basil Blackwell/The Economist, 1985), 'The Trouble with Capitalism: An Inquiry into the Causes of Global Economic Failure', (Zed Books, 1999), 'A New Democracy: Alternatives to a Bankrupt World Order' (Zed Books, 2001) and 'The Decline of Capitalism: Can a Self-Regulated Profits System Survive (Zed Books, 2004).