The economic crisis has created a host of problems for
working people: collapsing wages, lost jobs, ruined pensions, and the
anxiety that comes with not knowing what tomorrow will bring.
Compounding all this is a lack of reliable information that speaks to
the realities of workers. Commentators and pundits seem more confused
than anyone, and economists—the so-called “experts”—still cling to
bankrupt ideologies that failed to predict the crisis and offer nothing
to explain it.
In this short, clear, and concise book, Fred Magdoff and Michael D.
Yates explain the nature of the economic crisis. Contrary to
conventional wisdom, the authors demonstrate that this crisis is not
some aberration from a normally benign capitalism but rather the normal
and even expected outcome of a thoroughly irrational and destructive
system. No amount of tinkering with capitalism, whether it be
discredited neoliberalism or the return of Keynesianism and a “new” New
Deal, can overcome the core contradiction of the system: the daily
exploitation and degradation of the majority of the world’s people by a
tiny minority of business owners.
While the current economic maelstrom has laid bare the web of greed,
corruption, and propaganda that are central to capitalism, only an
aroused public, demanding the right to health care, decent employment, a
secure old age, and a clean and healthy environment, can lead the United
States and the world out of the worst crisis since the Great Depression
and toward a system of production and distribution conducive to human
happiness. This book is aimed primarily at working people, students, and
activists, who want not just to understand the world but to change it.
Fred Magdoff taught
at the University of Vermont in Burlington, is a director of the Monthly
Review Foundation, and has written on political economy for many years.
He is most recently the author (with John Bellamy Foster) of The
Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (Monthly
Michael D. Yates is
associate editor of Monthly
Review and editorial
director of Monthly Review Press. He is the author of Why
Unions Matter(Second Edition), and Cheap
Motels and a Hot Plate (both
Monthly Review Press).