The New Anticapitalism by Harold James

It should come as no surprise that our era of rapid technological change has coincided with a renewed skepticism about capitalism in Western countries. Yet those times are different, not least because of the rise of win-win markets and a shift in the geographic center of the global economy.

PRINCETON – We are currently experiencing the most spectacular technological and economic transformation in human history. We are also seeing a decline in support for capitalism around the world. Are these two trends related, and if so, how?

It’s tempting to say that the growing unpopularity of capitalism is only a symptom of Luddism – the impetus that drove artisans at the start of the Industrial Revolution to smash the machines that threatened their jobs. But this explanation fails to capture the complexity of the current movement against capitalism, which is led not so much by workers in distress as by intellectuals and politicians.

The current anti-capitalist wave comes at a time when neoliberalism and globalization are almost universally denounced. Opposition to neoliberalism originally came from the left, but has been taken up – perhaps even more vigorously and with grudge – by the populist right.

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Estelle D. Eden

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