March 1, 2011 - admin

Volume 37, Issue 2: Return to Culture Wars and the Politics of Culture

The last century ended in a decade of relative prosperity, a generally strong economy, and the ability of the working classes (indeed most people) to mask the fact that real wages had remained more or less stagnant for almost 30 years through access to seemingly unlimited credit sustaining ever growing levels of consumption. Consumption is important in a capitalist economy because, to put it in perhaps simple terms, capitalists cannot realize profits from the production process with- out the sale of goods and services. Or so we all imagined. The latter half of the 20th Century also brought us the ascendance of finance over other forms of capital as cost accounting, stock values and bottom lines replaced long term investments in R&D and corporate strategic planning. By the time this new century was well on its way we discovered that credit had its limits, finance could do little but sustain the profits of financial institutions, and over the more recent period a realization that the increase in labor productivity now sustains profits for sectors like manufacturing even as workforces are cut drastically and unemployment has reached levels unprecedented since the end of the depression of the 1930s…

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