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Tipping Point for Advanced Capitalism

Class, Class Consciousness and Activism in the “Knowledge Economy”

by D.W. Livingstone  

Changes in the class structure and in class consciousness are setting the stage for new class alliances for economic democracy.

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  • September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781773636405
  • 368 pages
  • $34.00
  • For sale worldwide
  • EPUB September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781773636450
  • $33.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • PDF September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781773636467
  • $33.99
  • For sale worldwide

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About the book

Tipping Point for Advanced Capitalism is a pathbreaking study of the changing class makeup of the Canadian, other G7 and Nordic labour forces since the 1980s, documenting especially the rise of non-managerial professional employees. The book provides unprecedented tracking of the links between employment classes and higher levels of class consciousness, including the often hidden political consciousness of corporate capitalists as well as the extent of oppositional and revolutionary consciousness among non-managerial workers. The large differences exposed between class conscious capitalists and these non-managerial workers on issues of poverty reduction and global warming reveal the strategic roles these key class agents play in actions to defend or transform advanced capitalism. The most concerted evidence-based study to bring class back into grasping the intimately linked ecological, economic and political crises we now face.

Additional research tools and databases available at: https://borealisdata.ca/dataverse/CanadaWorkLearningSurveys1998-2016

Capitalism & Alternatives Class Inequality Labour & Unions


What people are saying

Raewyn Connell, professor emerita, University of Sydney, and author of The Good University and Knowledge and Global Power

Tipping Point for Advanced Capitalism is an important book, not just for empirical social science but also for social movements. It provides a mass of new information and ideas about key issues in class analysis. It offers new perspectives on large-scale social and economic change, and the forces that might produce change. It recognizes that we are living in distinctive times, that demand new thinking. It sees the self-destructive dynamic in our present social and economic order. And it is, at base, optimistic, showing real potentials for fundamental change. We are not trapped in the current swamp — there are ways of digging ourselves out. If we have the courage to try.”

Andrew Jackson, former director of social and economic policy, Canadian Labour Congress, and author of The Fire and the Ashes: Rekindling Democratic Socialism

“In this important book capping a long and distinguished career, D.W Livingstone argues that class analysis remains fundamental to understanding the multiple crises of advanced capitalism and the possibilities for social transformation. A key argument is that changes in the class structure and in class consciousness since the 1980s are heightening the contradiction between capitalism and growing public access to knowledge, setting the stage for new class alliances for democratic socialism.”

John Myles, professor emeritus, University of Toronto, and co-author of Relations of Ruling: Class and Gender in Postindustrial Societies and author of Old Age in the Welfare State.

“Are classes dead in modern capitalist societies as often claimed? D.W. Livingstone’s Tipping Point clearly demonstrates that most citizens of the rich democracies don’t think so. They have clear ideas about their own class locations and their social, economic and political consequences. Tipping Point scans the changing class topography of the contemporary world and its likely implications for the future. Must reading for all those who have forgotten about the most fundamental cleavages of our daily lives.”

Jim Stanford, director, Centre for Future Work, and the author of Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism.

“Nothing is more important than class for explaining how advanced capitalism works (and doesn’t work). Yet simultaneously there is no single analytical concept more misunderstood, in both intellectual discourse and public consciousness. In this timely and powerful volume, D.W. Livingstone brilliantly wields quantitative and qualitative data to show that, yes, class still exists – and that understanding the dynamics of class conflict is vital for confronting the fearsome multiple crises facing humanity.”

Wallace Clement, chancellor’s professor emeritus, Carleton University, co-author of Relations of Ruling: Class and Gender in Postindustrial Societies and author of The Challenge of Class Analysis.

“D.W. Livingstone’s Tipping Point is the culmination of an illustrious career dedicated to scholarship aimed to make a difference. This is a far-reaching engagement and reflection upon class matters and structural transformation in the new economy at a critical juncture. The main empirical claim is the growth of professional employees as the skilled trades of the 21st century ‘knowledge economy’ and as pivotal agents of change. The book also contains a refreshingly new take on economic democracy. Livingstone’s substantial evidence-driven work merits serious consideration and provides both a proud legacy and look ahead.”

Mike Savage, Martin White Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics and author of Class Analysis and Social Transformation and Social Class in the 21st Century

“D.W. Livingstone’s detailed and highly crafted study demonstrates the ongoing power of capitalist class divisions in Canada, and marks a welcome renewal of a focus on work and employment within class analysis. Anyone who doubts the importance of class divides in affluent nations should ponder this book with care.”

Bob Carter, professor emeritus, University of Leicester and author of Capitalism, Class Conflict and the New Middle Class and “A growing divide: Marxist class analysis and the labour process.”

“Most accounts of class now stray too far from relations at work. Livingstone redresses the balance, using a unique set of empirical data collected over decades to chart the comparative changes in class structures and class consciousness in developed capitalist societies. Central to these trends is the growth and proletarianization of non-managerial professional groups. This development provides cautious hope that forces are gathering that may make fundamental change possible. The challenges this book poses deserve serious engagement if the multiple crises facing the world are to be overcome.”


D.W. Livingstone

D.W. Livingstone is Professor Emeritus and past Canada Research Chair in Lifelong Learning and Work at OISE/ University of Toronto. His most relevant prior books include Professional Power and Skill Use in the “Knowledge Economy”: A Class Analysis (2021); The Education–Jobs Gap (1998); and Class, Ideologies and Educational Futures (1983/2012).

Read more about the author: https://discover.research.utoronto.ca/27054-dw-livingstone


  • Introduction
  • Studying Classes in Advanced Capitalism: Standpoint, Framework and Method of Inquiry
  • Popular Notions of Classes Today
  • Advanced Capitalist Mode of Production: Drivers of Class Relations in “Knowledge Economies”
  • The Changing Class Structure of Production Relations in the “Knowledge Economy”
  • Advanced Capitalist Mode of Thought: Bourgeois Ideology
  • Class Consciousness in Advanced Capitalism: General Forms and Recent Trends
  • Connecting Class and Class Consciousness: The Acid Test
  • Tipping Point for Advanced Capitalism: This Time Is Different


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