Spartacus Review

Volume 31: 22nd March, 2009


Title: The Great Financial Crisis

Author: John Bellamy Foster & Fred Magdoff


Publisher: Monthly Review Press

Price: £10.95

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Economics Websites


Those of us who are dissatisfied with the analyses of the financial-economic meltdown of 2008 that attribute it to easily remediable amistakesa on the part of financial institutions, regulators, or policy-makers can learn a lot from John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoffas The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences. Foster and Magdoff follow up the theses of Paul Sweezy, Paul Baran, and Harry Magdoff that diagnose the structural problems of U.S. capitalism in its chronic tendency toward stagnation rooted in inadequate business investment and leading to slow growth, unemployment of labor, and low utilization of capital. This book makes the case that the excesses of financialization and the widening inequality of income distribution are themselves indirect effects of stagnation in the real economy, and explains with sobering clarity why the roots of this crisis may turn out to be deep and difficult to address with conventional policy measures.