Alfred Chandler and Amazon

What parallels can be drawn between contemporary transformations in the Internet and the corporate reconstruction of capitalism (to use Martin Sklar’s phrase) in the past? Says Xavier Rizos The internet took off there nearly 20 years ago with the wide dissemination of Netscape, the first web browser. Among the founding myths of this new economy […]

The (partial) unoriginality of Marx’s anticapitalism

Much commentary lately on the Pope’s critique of capitalism. Some even describe it as ‘Marxist’, this is silly, but so also are many of the evocations of the Marxist legacy on the left. Marx wasn’t the first or the last critic of capitalism. The originality of Marx’s work does not lie in his moral critique […]

Secular stagnation? Paul Sweezy in Australia

I have an article in Online Opinion on Labor’s post-election prospects although my comments applicable to the entire left including the Greens. One topic I touch is the implications of slower economic growth for politics. In recent weeks we have seen a revival of the ‘secular stagnation’ thesis that due to a shortage of investment […]

Capitalist confidence and electability from Lang to Rudd and Obama

The recent debate about the Resources Super Profits Tax revives an old argument about whether or not capitalists have a veto power over governments due to the alleged linkage between business investment, economic activity and the likelihood of re-election. Critics of capitalism once favoured this argument (and conservatives opposed it) but now with the demise […]

Socialism within capitalism?

To look over the landscape of socialism is to be persuaded that again and again that Marx was the socialist thinker who had something enduring to say, non-Marxist socialism is fated to merge into liberalism, and if we were looking to political guidance Leonard Hobhouse probably more offers more than the Webbs.

Wall Street vs. Main Street Democrats?

Although buried in marking doing some work on my paper on American liberalism and capitalist development based on my recent Sydney presentation to a symposium on social democratic governments and business. One aspect is the relation between the Democrats and business and the question of ‘corporate liberalism’ apparent in current debates about financial regulation.  We […]

Oliver Williamson and American liberalism

Lecturing recently in Modern Political Ideologies I observed that classical liberalism are not entirely incompatible, classical liberals were concerned about workers’ subordination in the production process and about the rise of corporate capitalism. Currently rereading Oliver Williamson’s The Economic Institutions of Capitalism, doubly appropriate because of his recent Nobel Prize in economics. An interesting milestone […]

Business history and socialist history

Working on the relation between government and business in the United States. As part of this reread Alfred Chandler’s exceptional Strategy and Structure and The Visible Hand. One interesting point is that although the 1930s are a time when theories of ‘monopoly capitalism’ gain major following and Gramsci develops the concept of ‘Fordism’, it is […]

Tugan-Barnovsky and China

Discussion of the Chinese economy often centers on the idea that Chinese economic growth is fundamentally unbalanced due to low levels of domestic consumption and a reliance on exports. Yet China seems to have weathered the global financial crisis particularly well. Zacharay Karabell: China’s path, of course, is hardly without skeptics. The common argument against […]