£19.99 | $33.95

10 September 2009
ISBN: 9781848134225
256 pages
216 x 138mm


The Trouble with Capitalism

An Enquiry into the Causes of Global Economic Failure

By Harry Shutt

The recent collapse of the banking system and instability in the financial markets has dramatically shaken confidence in the global economic order. Is the current variant of 'free market' capitalism really sustainable? The Trouble With Capitalism - originally written, with remarkable prescience, in 1998 - anticipates such a development and explains the underlying economic fragility it has revealed. Rather than being merely a temporary blip in the march of capitalism, Shutt argues forcefully that the on-going crisis has arisen as a result of fundamental economic problems, stemming from the growing redundancy of both labour and capital since the 1970s. In doing so, he exposes the sham of the laissez faire prospectus, showing that state power and capital are increasingly being used to prop up capital while pretending that the aim is to roll back the frontiers of the state.

The implications of the author's startling conclusion (re-examined in a new foreword) - that the maximisation of profit must cease to be the main basis for allocating resources - are profound.


'Identifies an impressive array of potential problems.' - The Christian Science Monitor

'Shutt is one of the few to expose capitalism?s lies and imperfections, faults that critically threaten our democratic survival.' - Publishers Weekly

'In this thoughtful treatment of the current economic scene, one feels convinced that the collapse of Western civilization as we know it is at hand.' - Library Journal

'Offers no easy answers, but suggests the West is going to have to face the fact that profit-maximising capitalism has run its course.' - Tribune

'Based on wide knowledge, well documented source material and sharp analysis, everyone who reads it will learn from it...' - Liberation

'This has been the most interesting discussion with an economist I have ever had in my life' George Galloway, Press TV

'Shutt [has] a message for every saver and investor: a crash of 1929 proportions is almost inevitable' - Dan Atkinson in The Guardian (on the first edition of this book)

Table of Contents

Foreword: Apocalypse now?
1. The Origins of Modern Capitalism: A Brief History to World War II
2. The Post-1945 Economic Dispensation in the West
3. The End of the Boom and the Neo-classical Reaction
4. The Illusion of Orthodoxy
5. Incurable Addiction to State Support
6. Globalisation and the Power Vacuum
7. Technological Nemesis
8. Coping with the Capital Glut
9. Wider Symptoms of Disintegration: I - The Wreckage of Soviet Communism
10. Wider Symptoms of Disintegration: II - Third World Catastrophe
11. A Crisis of Legitimacy
12. Can the Profits System be Saved?
13. Political Paralysis
14. Essential Features of a Sustainable World Order

About the Author:

Harry Shutt was educated at Oxford and Warwick Universities. He worked for six years in the Development and Planning Division of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). He then moved to the Research Department of the General and Municipal Workers' Union (1973-76) and subsequently became Chief Economist at the Fund for Research and Investment for the Development of Africa (1977-79). Since then he has been an independent economic consultant. His books include 'The Myth of Free Trade: Patterns of Protectionism Since 1945', (Basil Blackwell/The Economist, 1985), 'The Trouble with Capitalism: An Inquiry into the Causes of Global Economic Failure', (Zed Books, 1999), 'A New Democracy: Alternatives to a Bankrupt World Order' (Zed Books, 2001) and 'The Decline of Capitalism: Can a Self-Regulated Profits System Survive (Zed Books, 2004).