System In Crisis

The Dynamics of Free Market Capitalism

By James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer  

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In the late 1960s the operating world capitalist system hit a snag, exposing cracks that went to its very foundations. At first, this crisis was viewed as part of a normal business cycle of capital accumulation in which markets become saturated. The reaction created a mass of unemployed workers, reduced purchasing power and consumption capacity which initiated a further downward cycle of disinvestment and recession. The efforts to revitalize the capitalist system included the restructuring of world production, new information-based technologies designed to revolutionize the structure of production, a new mode of capital accumulation and regulatory regime, and a program of policy reforms and structural adjustments.

By discussing the very cracks that neo-liberalism tries to disguise, James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer explain how these reactions attempt to prop up a system that continues to fail the global community. System in Crisis also examines the nature of the class divisions and the political repercussions of the anti-globalization movement. This analysis provides readers with a more general perspective on the broader anti-globalization movement and the possibilities for unifying the diverse forces of resistance and opposition to neo-liberalism, capitalism and imperialism–and the prospects for an alternative, more human, socialist form of development.

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  • Introduction
  • Dimensions and Dynamics of Systemic Crisis
  • Imperialism and Crisis
  • 9/11 One Year Later
  • Argentina and the Crisis of Neo-liberalism
  • From Left to Right: The Crisis of Electoral Democracy
  • The Story of Cod: The Ecological Crisis of Industrial Capitalism
  • Peasants Against the State in Latin America
  • Indigenous Peoples Arise: Ecuador on the Move
  • The Piqueteros: A New Actor on the Political Stage
  • The Dynamics of Anti-Globalization


  • James Petras

    State University of New York

    James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the State University of New York. He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet. He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Henry Veltmeyer

    Research Professor, Development Studies Program, Autonomous University of Zacatecas, México

    Dr. Veltmeyer lived and worked for six years in south America before coming to Canada to pursue a doctoral program in Political Science and subsequently (in 1976) beginning his academic career in the Sociology Department at St. Mary’s University. He has participated in the university’s Atlantic Canada Studies program and founded the program in International development in 1985. He also served for eight years as Coordinator of this program in addition to eight years as chair of the Sociology Department. Currently he has an academic appointment in the PhD program of Development Studies at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico and annually engages in an extended program of research and public lectures across Latin America. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of International Development Studies and serves on the editorial board of Studies in Political Economy and a number of international journals in his major field of research-the political economy of international development. Dr. Veltmeyer conducts research, writes and teaches about diverse issues related to the political economy and sociology of development, with a particular focus on issues of Latin American development, globalization processes, government policies, alternative models and approaches and social movements. Since 2000 he has authored/co-authored and edited 13 books and 25 scholarly refereed articles that have been published in Canada, the US, the UK, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador. Several of these books, written in English or Spanish, have received awards and have been translated into other languages - among them Portuguese, Italian, Tugalese and German. In addition to these scholarly books, several of which have achieved international recog-nition and/or special awards and distinctions, 25 of Dr. Veltmeyer’s scholarly articles since 2000 have been published in some of the most prestigious academic journals in his field or by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Places of publication include Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, Argentina, Mexico, the Netherlands and Switzerland

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