Quiet Riot

Recent books on the present crisis

Alasdair Roberts, The End of Protest: How Free-Market Capitalism Learned to Control Dissent. Cornell, 2013.

Alasdair Roberts, The Logic of Discipline: Global Capitalism and the Architecture of Government. Oxford, 2010.

Greta Krippner, Capitalizing on Crisis: The Political Origins of the Rise of Finance. Harvard, 2011.

Dani Rodrik, The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy. Norton, 2011.

Patricia Clavin, Securing the World Economy: The Reinvention of the League of Nations, 1920–1946. Oxford, 2013.

In the months following the economic meltdown of 2008, it looked, for a second, as if neoliberalism, or whatever one wanted to call the latest version of un- or under-fettered global capitalism, might come to an end. Titans of the creed paraded themselves before Congress; measures unthinkable in another age—bank nationalization, for one—became the basic fodder for newspaper columnists. Images of Marx appeared on one magazine cover after another. “Another ideological god has failed,” Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf wrote in 2009. “The assumptions that ruled policy and politics over three decades suddenly look as outdated as revolutionary socialism.”

By 2010, of course, these ambitious hopes looked embarrassingly premature, as much of the world turned to austerity, rather than to stimulus, to address the crisis’s lingering effects. It’s partly because of the thorough, decades-long expulsion of alternatives to capitalism that the zombie-like survival of this hyperliberalized variant now feels so easy to take for granted. But it is in fact unprecedented. The two comparable crises of capitalism in the 20th century both led to major transformations in governance. The Depression gave rise to Keynesian tools of fiscal and monetary macroeconomic management; oil and stagflation in the 1970s overturned that regime, as the developed world traded a Keynesian orthodoxy for a market one.

More from Issue 20

Issue 20 Survival

If this was not yet a movement, it was definitely a mood—antifree—and it was fighting a more difficult battle.

Issue 20 Survival

Privilege discourse offers a way for members of the same class to discuss differences in the same room.

Issue 20 Survival
Dire Straits
Issue 20 Survival

We kissed, but my whatever had not healed. It was hot and dry. (I mean my brain.)

Issue 20 Survival

Every cheap shot, each subtle disrespect, any advantage unfairly taken—these have to be balanced out.

Issue 20 Survival

“You know what?” Val said. “Screw those guys. I am going to ride by in a Mercedes-Benz.”

Issue 20 Survival

Caren winces. “You have another six weeks to come up with a summer jam.”

Issue 20 Survival
Color Theory
Issue 20 Survival

That was the moment I should have realized that the narco business is no joke.

Issue 20 Survival
Nobody's Protest Novel
Issue 20 Survival

Women’s bathrooms need to be bigger, or something.