The collapsing share values, corporate failures and fraud that have marked the opening of the 21st century reveal a global financial crisis and raise fundamental questions about the sustainability of the present economic order. Harry Shutt shows that - the present crisis is the culmination of 30 years of deepening stagnation - there is a long-term trend towards reduced demand for both capital and labour - a deep depression has only been avoided through growing reliance on official subsidy and market distortion - regulatory reform will not work without further reducing profitability - any moves towards a more sustainable model will not be accepted by ruling elites He outlines an agenda for fundamental changes, based on the premise that the primacy of private profit is no longer compatible with the priorities of modern democracies. Instead, we need to emphasize equity, cooperation and far more effective democratic accountability.
Harry Shutt is an independent economic consultant. He is the author of The Trouble with Capitalism (Zed Books, 1999) and A New Democracy: Alternatives to a Bankrupt World Order (Zed Books, 2001)