This essay examines aspects of the global political economy that I hope will inform progressive governments and movements for social change. It evaluates the constraints and opportunities presented in the current conjuncture of world capitalist development by analyzing four areas of crisis in the contemporary world capitalist system. These are not the only contradictory elements in the contemporary conjuncture, but they are, in my view, the most salient.
The first problem is the financial turbulence that has gripped the economy of the United States and has had widespread effects. It is a crisis that further discredits mainstream Anglo-American economics. I do not know that it is the crisis of capitalism. For this to be the case it would not only have to become much deeper, but its impacts would have to be felt more dramatically as a systemic failure. Most importantly, a party formation capable of explaining how such crises are inherent in the nature of the functioning of capitalism and of inspiring a socialist alternative would have to mobilize a movement of the sort that ended apartheid in South Africa. Without the last, even a deep and painful crisis will be, at best, only the occasion for reforming and not abolishing capitali