Periodizing Really Existing Capitalism of the 1980s and 1990s

  • Richard Westra
Part of the Palgrave Insights into Apocalypse Economics book series (PIAE)


Beginning in the 1970s and continuing into the 1980s and 1990s a spate of largely non-Marxist writings attempted to capture momentous changes that major, advanced economies were undergoing. Particularly significant among the changes were the expansion of service sector employment as a percent of total employment and diminution of employment in industry, the emergence and spreading application of information and computer technologies, horizontal disintegration of corporate capital, transformation of the international financial architecture, and rise of a speculation economy. Sociologist cum futurist Daniel Bell, Scott Lash and John Urry, as well as Michael Piore and Charles Sabel all drew radical conclusions over the transformations which they believed vitiated Marx’s views on socialism supplanting capitalism. While the aforementioned writers produced theories of change predicated upon systematizing empirical history in stylized facts, Giovanni Arrighi and Carlota Perez treated the above changes in terms of new sweeping periodizations of capitalism over the course of several centuries.


Post-industrial society Disorganized capitalism Flexible specialization Systemic cycles of accumulation Technological paradigms 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Westra
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Macau StudiesUniversity of MacauMacauChina

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