Future of the Market: An Essay on the Regulation of Money and Nature after the Collapse of 'Actually Existing Socialism'

Overview

In this book Elmar Altvater, one of Germany’s leading radical economists, considers the discordant state of the capitalist world today, drawing on bpth green and socialist economics.

The end of ‘actually existing socialism’ has been widely hailed as confirmation of the supremacy of market forces. Yet both the post-Communist societies of the East and large parts of the South face a protracted crisis to which the apparently victorious West offers no solution. Against this ...

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Overview

In this book Elmar Altvater, one of Germany’s leading radical economists, considers the discordant state of the capitalist world today, drawing on bpth green and socialist economics.

The end of ‘actually existing socialism’ has been widely hailed as confirmation of the supremacy of market forces. Yet both the post-Communist societies of the East and large parts of the South face a protracted crisis to which the apparently victorious West offers no solution. Against this background Altvater explains why Soviet planning ended in failure, having reproduced many negative features of the Western model without being able to sustain a global challenge to it.

Altvater examines the claims currently made for the market, both in the history of capitalism and in the globalized market economy today. Has a free market ever existed, in the sense of imposing itself on the will of political actors? Can the free market ever lead the debt-ridden societies of Africa or Latin America out of mass poverty? Can the world crisis of civilisation, in all its dimensions, be overcome by relying on market models of production and consumption? These questions are addressed in the context of an economic theory that puts human needs and capacities, and a sustainable model of development, at the centre of analysis.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This is a rich, well-argued, challenging book; it is both a defence of Marxist political economy and socialism at a time when they are under attack and an imaginative extension of them to take account of the increased importance of the ecological question.”—Bob Jessop, Lancaster University
Library Journal
Based on lectures given by the author, a German economist, this work is ``an attempt to find answers to the question of why `actually existing socialism' collapsed in Eastern Europe.'' In his discussion of nonmarket economics and why they fail, Altvater also explores the limitations and pitfalls of the market-based society. An entire chapter is devoted to historical debt cycles and their role in money economies. Interestingly, he includes a section on nature and ecology, explaining their effect on the debt crisis. A notable prediction: ``We cannot discount the possibility that the ecological ravages which we watch as paralysed spectators will unsettle the world political situation to the point of military confrontation.'' Recommended for economics collections.-- Lisa K. Miller, American Graduate Sch. of International Management Lib., Glendale, Ariz.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780860916109
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/1993
  • Pages: 274
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

A translator from Romanian, Spanish, German, French, and Italian, Patrick Camiller has translated many works, including Dumitru Tsepeneag’s Vain Art of the Fugue, The Necessary Marriage, and Hotel Europa.
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Table of Contents

Preface to the English Edition
Introduction 1
Pt. 1 The Market 9
1 Great Crises East and West 11
2 The Performance of the Market 57
Pt. 2 The Money of the Market 87
3 Monetary Insecurity 89
4 Historical Debt Cycles 125
Pt. 3 Nature 179
5 Towards an Ecological Critique of Political Economy 181
Pt. 4 Final Considerations 235
6 On Market and Non-Market Regulation 237
Index 263
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