Released: January 1977
This is the second in the series of four collections of essays in which Paul M. Sweezy and Harry Magdoff, the editors of Monthly Review, set out as it took place the development of U.S. and global capitalism from the late 1960s to the “financial explosion” age of the early 1990s and after.
This second set of essays constitute in their totality a probing analysis of the condition of the United States economy in the 1970s, immediately after the end of the “golden age” of capitalism. The authors concluded, correctly, that a new period had begun&mdash“one of sluggish capitalist accumulation and unemployment in the advanced capitalist countries on a scale not seen since the 1930s.”
This condition contrasts sharply with the long period from the 1940s to the late 1960s, which was characterized by vigorous capital accumulation and relatively long cyclical upswings and mild recessions. Thus the 1970s marked a change from “prosperity” to stagnation, an historic turning point of great importance.
These essays, all of which appeared in Monthly Review between 1973 and 1977, explore the causes, consequences, and implications of this end of prosperity. From an analysis of the breakdown of the Bretton Woods monetary system signaling a basic change in the mechanics of American international financial domination, to a discussion of the failure of “Keynesian” manipulations to solve the economic lethargy, this book is a diagnosis of a key set of changes that initiated a new era of a lingering, and in the long run incurable, sickness of capitalism.