March 1, 2010 - admin

Volume 36, Issue 2: Global Economy, Local Calamity

When James O’Connor (2002 [1973]) first wrote The Fiscal Crisis of the State in 1973, later followed by Erik Olin Wright’s (1977) Class, Crisis and the State, progressive and radical scholars were debating whether or not there was a relative autonomy of the state (see, for instance, Miller 1986) in contrast to Marx’s position that the state apparatus was part of the superstructure and simply the political moment of capitalism functioning solely in the interest of capitalism. Perhaps oversimplifying, the question was whether or not the state can act in the interest of society as a whole and as a consequence against the interests of monopoly capital? To put it another way, does the state function of legitimating the capitalist system mean that it must be able to act in ways that do not solely support capital accumulation – the driving force of capitalism?

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