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Neoliberalism, Globalization, and the Contours of Economic Crisis: Contradictions of Late 20th and Early 21st Century Capitalism
AuthorGibson, Benjamin P.
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This thesis provides an analysis of the systemic contradictions of capital accumulation and illuminates the fundamental relationships that put the capitalist system at odds with the majority of working people, as well as the planet itself. These are the contradictions that underlie the `boom and bust' cycles that throw the capitalist world into continual crisis, which have recently culminated in the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression. The global financial crisis of 2008-09 has been the most recent in a long line of structural crises and was exacerbated in large part by the globalization of capital and the previous 30 years of neoliberal economic policies. These collaborative practices allowed the restructuring of capital accumulation and capital flows during the last decades of the 20th century, but ultimately resulted in the reemergence of a larger crisis at the turn of the millennium. As this project shows, capital is unable to resolve its long-term crisis tendencies, and is only able to mitigate them through time and space. During this most recent crisis, wealth was reallocated back to the top layers of society and many of those who were the principal architects of neoliberal policies were able to extract vast sums of money while the savings and retirement accounts of working people were plundered. Five years after the crisis, we have bared witness to the bailout of this moribund system based on economic crisis and exploitation, a bailout shouldered by the working class, and a rebound of stocks and profits and the continued concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, all while the working masses in many places are barely able to carve out an existence and see little hope of relief on the horizon.