Neoliberal Capitalism

744 Words3 Pages
This paper is concerned with the relationship between capitalism and demographic trends; with the late twentieth century development of neoliberalism alongside historically low levels of fertility in rich capitalist societies. In particular, I question if and how the shift from postwar, regulated capitalism to contemporary, neoliberal capitalism has contributed to the aggregate decline and stagnation of birth rates in advanced capitalist countries. In short, my claim is that the institutional and ideational features of neoliberal capitalism undermine the various requirements for reproduction. More specifically, by reducing the material and psychological means to reproduce, and diminishing the normative value of social-reproductive activities,…show more content…
Moreover, the numerous economic institutions required for capitalist accumulation tend to guide the evolution of non-economic (i.e., social, political, and cultural) institutions. Therefore, where capital accumulation is the organizing principle of the economy, “it also gains significant influence on the overall nature of societies and, in certain circumstances, may become the dominant principle of societal organization.” (Jessop 2002, 29). For example, the costs associated with producing and reproducing labor power – a key component in the circuit of capital – has historically relied on a specific gendered division of labor within the family. Indeed, social relations and institutions ostensibly outside the production process are often critical for the reproduction of…show more content…
A social structure of accumulation (SSA) is a dynamic and coherent set of temporally-specific social institutions which support the accumulation process by regulating competition and conflict, thus creating the stability and predictability required for capital (re)investment. As a theory of the stages (or forms) of capitalism, SSA theory is useful for understanding continuity, crisis and change in the development of capitalism. Each historically particular form of capitalism – from early industrial or competitive capitalism to contemporary, neoliberal capitalism – is constituted by a broad array of unique and specific institutions and social relations. I contend that each form of capitalism revolutionizes the prevailing mode of social reproduction; which, to be sure, forms one of capitalism’s background conditions (e.g., through short- and long-run consumption and the future availability of an appropriately suited workforce). Indeed, changes in the capital production process – that is, the prevailing social and technical processes involved in producing goods and services – lead to changes in social-reproductive activities and strategies in line with the demands of economic
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