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Capital accumulation and the rise of finance

The United States in Decline

ISBN: 978-1-78350-829-7, eISBN: 978-1-78350-830-3

Publication date: 24 June 2014


This chapter examines explanations for the slowdown of capital accumulation since 1980. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data on trends on productivity and capital spending, we find that slowing productivity growth accounts for slower capital accumulation. Other explanations for the downturn, such as outsourcing, the “post-industrial” economy, and financialization, do not reflect macroeconomic trends. However, we argue that shareholder value ideology affected decisions about how to balance productivity growth and inputs such as capital and labor. We discuss the consequences of slowing accumulation on American economic hegemony.



Knudsen, M. (2014), "Capital accumulation and the rise of finance", The United States in Decline (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 26), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 81-105.



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