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"The End of the Long 20th Century"

"The End of the Long 20th Century"



31 min

| 2011 |

hits: 3272

Presentation given by Beverly Silver at the conference "Transformation within and beyond capitalism", organized by Rosa Luxemburg-Foundation in Berlin on October 13, 2011. The title of the presentation is "The End of the Long 20th Century".

First, Silver explains the theory on the successive cycles of accumulation. From the 15th until the end of the 17th century the Italian city states dominated the capitalist cycle of accumulation; from the late 16th until the late 18th century the Dutch dominated; the next cycle was dominted by Great Britain and lasted from the mid-18th until the mid-20th century; finally, the US-dominated cycle started in the late 19th century and has not yet finished.

In all cases social movements have shaped the form of the next cycle of accumulation. The Haiti Rebellion and the slave uprisings shaped the nature of the British Empire, and the National Liberation Movements and the labor movements since the end of the 19th century shaped the US-American era.

Today, we are living in a transition period again, because the development project for the Global South collapsed. That has released an uncredible amount of cheap labor, in the form of migrant labor on one hand, and as producers of cheap commodities on the other.

The era of cheap labor will be over, soon, according to Silver, because there is a long tradition of workers' protests in China, and China's domestic policies have changed as well since 2004. China has given up the policy of econonic growth at all costs.

Silver sees a fundamental problem in the fact that the capitalist production process has externalized the costs of reproduction of nature and human beings more and more; capitalism is not able to internalize these costs. However, if we want to have a world that guarantees the livelihood of all people, then this goal can not be reached within a new cycle of accumulation. We have to think about a way how all people can have a livelihood - without capitalism.

team: Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung

Tags: crisis


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