Introduction
in The capitalist mode of destruction
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The introduction offers a sketch of the current conjuncture, while also providing an outline of the book’s argument. It begins with the contrast between the capitalist triumphalism that accompanied the end of the Cold War and the setbacks that capitalism has faced at the beginning of this century. The capitalist world’s main superpower, the United States, has faced a number of challenges, from the World Trade Center attacks to the military fiascos in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed it; but also economic challenges, as manifested by the rise of China and the global financial crisis of 2008. This latter crisis and the global coronavirus pandemic have also adversely impacted the rest of the capitalist world, notably Europe. At the same time, a deepening ecological crisis and a crisis of political democracy are also manifestations of capitalism’s increasingly destructive implications. After the brief overview of the current conjuncture, the introduction outlines how each of the book’s chapters adds to the analysis of capitalist destruction, to the cost–benefit contradiction that capitalism generates, and to the political implications of this contradiction and of its experience by diverse segments of the population for the formation of an anti-capitalist coalition fighting for a more humane, less destructive society.

The capitalist mode of destruction

Austerity, ecological crisis and the hollowing out of democracy

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