The Golden Age Illusion: Rethinking Postwar Capitalism

Overview

What happened to the so-called "golden age" of the postwar boom? Unprecedented rates of economic growth, profitability, and wage increases during the 1950s and 60s have given way to a global capitalist economy in disarray. Reassessing common interpretations of postwar economic history and geography, this book focuses on the evolution of the global economy from the 1950s to the present. Based on extensive research, the book assesses histories of growth, profitability, and technological change in core industrial ...
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Overview

What happened to the so-called "golden age" of the postwar boom? Unprecedented rates of economic growth, profitability, and wage increases during the 1950s and 60s have given way to a global capitalist economy in disarray. Reassessing common interpretations of postwar economic history and geography, this book focuses on the evolution of the global economy from the 1950s to the present. Based on extensive research, the book assesses histories of growth, profitability, and technological change in core industrial economies (Japan and the USA), raw material dependent economies (Australia and Canada), and several newly industrializing countries (Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan). The authors build on standard models of economic change to incorporate new developments in regional dynamics: they use nonlinear, nonequilibrium, and evolutionary arguments to frame discussions of profit rates, technological change, and interregional capital flows.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Webber and Rigby's Golden Age of Illusion is an extraordinary achievement and a 'must-read' for every serious student of the global economy. I can think of nothing remotely comparable. It provides a thoroughgoing reinterpretation of world economic trends of the last fifty years that overthrows most of the canon on globalization and the rise and fall of nations.

"This is a huge and difficult book, with a compact and rigorous form of argument that is not for beginners or the scientifically faint of heart. Rarely does a book show a surer grasp of economic theory, world history, and econometric methods all at once. But the patient reader is rewarded by a tour de force through the global economy, one full of surprises and original insights. Webber and Rigby put to flight a host of pieties about free trade, equilibrium, competitive advantage, modes of regulation, and international division of labor means of the rigorous unapologetic application of classical political economy.

"These authors show an admirable capacity to work systematic models through the immense variety of real history while neither abandoning explanation nor dissolving complexity. A coup for economic geography and a challenge to the economists--if they know what hit them." --Richard A. Walker, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Geography, University of California at Berkeley

"This is a remarkable book. It is a major contribution to the theory of capitalist growth, competition and crisis, and it is a major contribution to the theory of spatial and sectoral uneven development. It is crammed with data, equations and tests of arguments and hypotheses. And it is remarkably detailed when we come to assess its arguments with respect to those in the literature." --Gordon L. Clark, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Journal of Regional Science

"The work of Michael Webber and David Rigby...is timely and exceedingly important....They take up the challenge of late twentieth century economic history in a fashion that is both analytically rigorous and empirically rich....Their demanding and extensive study is therefore a most important contribution of relevance to a wide array of disciplines."--Journal of Regional Science
Booknews
Reassesses common interpretations of global postwar economic history and geography, drawing on detailed studies of two advanced industrialized nations, two semi-peripheral economies, and three newly industrializing countries. Discusses factors such as profit rates, capital flows from nonlinear, nonequilibrium, and evolutionary perspectives, illustrating the failure of traditional theories to account for the emergence of newly industrialized countries. For students and scholars of economics and regional development. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780898625738
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/20/1996
  • Series: Perspectives On Economic Change Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 545
  • Product dimensions: 6.47 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Meet the Author


Michael Webber, a Professor of Geography at the University of Melbourne in Australia, is deputy convenor of The Victoria Foundation, a think tank that promotes justice in social and economic policies. His research interests have evolved from location theory and urban planning to industrial development and regional growth.

David Rigby is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests include evolutionary models of technological change and economic dynamics, regional growth theory, and uneven development.

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Table of Contents


1. Introduction
2. The Partly Golden Age
3. Competing Theories of Postwar Growth and Change
4. The Labor Theory of Value and Expected Prices
5. Accumulation, Technical Change, and the Falling Rate of Profit
6. The Form of Productivity Change
7. Internalization and Global Capital Flows
8. Profits and Technical Change in Australia, Canada, Japan, and the USA
9. The Rate and Direction of Technical Change in US Manufacturing
10. The Growth of the Newly Industrialized Countries
11. Conclusion
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