Can Democracy Tame Twenty-First Century Capitalism?
The 2008 financial crisis and ensuing Eurozone crisis were more than just economic shocks. They revealed tensions in the fundamental structure of postwar democratic capitalism. In this talk, Steven Klein argues that recent economic crises are propelled by the long-term erosion of institutions built after the Second World War, which were only ever partially democratic. Inspired by the work of Hungarian economic sociologist Karl Polanyi (1886–1964), who traced the breakdown of European society to the tension between democracy and capitalism, Klein analyzes capitalism as a form of economic authoritarianism nestled in formally democratic institutions. He then grapples with the implications of three key transformations that have emerged since Polanyi was writing: decolonization and the changing dynamics of global political economy, the rise of debt and credit as central pillars of the economy, and the technological shifts towards more service-oriented capitalism.
In cooperation with Berlin Science Week.