An additional reading to consider after watching Robinson’s lecture. The article entitled Speculation on the Stationary State was written by   Gopal Balakrishnan and published in the New Left Review this month  [read full here].

Thanks to Daniel Araya for the link

[…]What is the historical significance of the implosion of neo-liberalism, coming less than twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union? A disconcerting thought experiment suggests itself. The ussr, it might be recalled, had reached the summit of its power in the 70s, shortly before stumbling downward into a spiral of retrenchment, drift and collapse. Could a comparable reversal of fortune now be in store for the superpower of the West, one of those old-fashioned ‘ironies of history’? After all, a certain unity of opposites can be traced between an unbridled late capitalism and the centrally planned rust belts of the former Comecon—and precisely in the economic sphere, where they were diametrically counterposed. During the heyday of Reaganism, official Western opinion had rallied to the view that the bureaucratic administration of things was doomed to stagnation and decline because it lacked the ratio of market forces, coordinating transactions through the discipline of competition. Yet it was not too long after the final years of what was once called socialism that an increasingly debt- and speculation-driven capitalism began to go down the path of accounting and allocating wealth in reckless disregard of any notionally objective measure of value. The balance sheets of the world’s greatest banks are an imposing testimony to the breakdown of standards by which the wealth of nations was once judged. [read full here]

I believe that the quote from Fredric Jameson at the end of Gopal’s paper superbly illustrates today’s anxieties.

Confusion about the future of capitalism—compounded by a confidence in technological progress beclouded by intermittent certainties of catastrophe and disaster—is at least as old as the late nineteenth century; but few periods have proved as incapable of framing immediate alternatives for themselves, let alone of imagining those great Utopias that have occasionally broken on the status quo like a sunburst.

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