Title: Capital-labour imbalances: the 'debt' of capitalism?

Authors: Brian O' Boyle

Addresses: St. Angela's College (National University of Ireland Galway), Lough Gill, Co. Sligo., Ireland

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to expose a growing imbalance between capital and labour as a key cause of the current economic crisis. Over the last 30 years, capitalism has undergone a number of structural changes. Of these, the most important have been a shift in the relationship of the state to accumulation, and a radical attack on the pay and conditions of the working class. Over time this has led to an accentuation of the power of capital and to a recurring problem with 'effective demand'. Increasing exploitation was facilitated by increasing financialisation and it was the interaction of these two processes that staved off the current crisis for so long. Cheap credit essentially replaced real wages. But this was neither a stable relationship nor a sustainable one. Since 2008, the debt economy has been relentlessly unravelling, and the paper ends by assessing the possibilities for a successful resumption of capital accumulation.

Keywords: neoliberalism; economic crisis; exploitation; financialisation; debt; global imbalances; capital-labour imbalances; capital accumulation; labour; financial crisis; pay and conditions; working class; cheap credit; debt economy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMCP.2012.049947

International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy, 2012 Vol.6 No.3, pp.148 - 169

Published online: 17 Apr 2015 *

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