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The Boom and the Bubble: The US in the World Economy

The Boom and the Bubble: The US in the World Economy

4.0 1
by Robert Brenner
Brenner demonstrates that the new economy was always a fragile phenomenon.


Brenner demonstrates that the new economy was always a fragile phenomenon.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In this interesting and original work, Brenner examines the recent collapse of the US economy ... not merely another postmortem on the bursting of the bubble economy of the last decade. Rather, Brenner provides a historical and international context to his discussion by framing it within the global economic stagnation of the early 1990s.”—Choice

“Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz may be celebrity economists, but it is an economic historian whose earlier work focused on the origins of capitalism in late feudal Europe who has turned out the most compelling and comprehensive account of the crisis gripping contemporary global capitalism. UCLA Professor Robert Brenner’s recent work is a solidly argued and empirically impeccable restatement of the centrality of overproduction in capitalism.”—Walden Bello, The Nation

“An uncanny ability to map the future ... His conviction that the financial bubble that sustained the US economy around the turn of the century would be exposed as corrupt as well as misguided has now been proved right.”—Charles Leadbetter, New Statesman

“The best financial history of the period yet.”—New York Times

“... as the economy continues to plummet from its historic highs in the ‘90s ... here’s a book which explains in accessible ways why it has gone so fast and why it seems to be coming down so quickly.”—Steve Wasserman

“Its implications are portentous.”—Jack Beatty, Atlantic Monthly

“Brenner offers a more scholarly analysis of the recent decade than most commentators who tend to overpraise or dismiss recent technological innovations ... something of a thriller with a to-be-continued ending.”—James Flanigan, Los Angeles Times Cover Review

Product Details

Verso Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Robert Brenner is Director of the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History at UCLA. He is the author of The Boom and the Bubble, Merchants and Revolution, The Economics of Global Turbulence and co-editor of Rebel Rank and File.

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The Boom and the Bubble: The US in the World Economy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brenner¿s useful study of the US economy was written before the current crisis began. He shows how from 1973 to 1995 the US economy stagnated. Then in 1995 the stock market soared, creating the biggest financial bubble in US history. The bankers and their pet politicians pretended that productivity gains were driving equity prices up, but actually it was the higher equity prices that were driving equity prices ever higher. So the financial boom did not lift the real economy ¿ there was a 25% decline in the rate of profit in manufacturing in 1997. Speculative bubbles in equities, land and building cannot drive an economy forward. Services cannot do it either. Only the vital manufacturing sector can drive an economy forward. The credit crunch is not new. In 1998, Long-Term Capital Management, a leading US hedge fund, was in crisis, so the Federal Reserve tried to bail it out. It lowered interest rates three times, trying to raise the paper wealth of companies and households, to get them to borrow more. So companies borrowed record sums for mergers and acquisitions and to repurchase their outstanding equities. This massive borrowing, by driving up share prices, also lifted top executives¿ stock options. Under current tax law, companies pay less tax on their capital gains than on dividends, they can completely write off interest payments against tax, and they can deduct the costs of stock options from their income. So many big companies pay no tax at all. Capitalism now depends more on private debt, corporate and consumer, than on our wages and therefore believes it does not need a working class to produce wealth. But this privatised Keynesianism, whereby private debt is supposed to increase demand, stimulate investment and so restore the rate of profit, does not work. Even the current record levels of corporate and household debt have not fuelled an economic recovery. Class struggle is always with us - the capitalist class wages class war by increasing their profits and attacking our wages and conditions, even if sections of the working class sometimes think they can duck out of struggle.