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Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Simon Stander

There have been times in recent years when it has seemed that the US economy, in particular, has defied economic gravity. This was certainly the case in the late nineties…

Abstract

There have been times in recent years when it has seemed that the US economy, in particular, has defied economic gravity. This was certainly the case in the late nineties of the twentieth century. Many heaved a sigh of relief when the Nasdaq and the Dow responded to the pull of economic gravity and fell to earth in the early part of the twenty first century. The Earth at the time, in 2002, appeared to be indices of around 8,000 for the Dow and 1,250 for the Nasdaq. These measures still indicated huge wealth in terms of saleable bits of paper as well, indicating the underlying huge capacity of the real economy for creating surpluses. Both indices climbed back, though the Nasdaq was a long way from its astronomic former heights before the next (2007) crisis hit. True to the cyclical record of modern capitalism, however, by 2006 the US and the world stock markets were booming again. The nominal value of shares traded worldwide in 2006 by some estimates was nearly $70 trillion (Bogle, 2005). In 2007, another crisis appeared, ushered in supposedly by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market in the United States; subsequent events took their toll in economic and financial terms not only in the United States but worldwide in most of the major economies. The terms “credit crunch” and “sub-prime” had become so pervasive within a few weeks of the onset of the latest economic crisis that by July 2008, the Concise Oxford Dictionary provided definitions for them. While these terms are now embedded in the language of economics and everyday speech, inevitably the affected economies will recover from the crises and continue to grow. While there is no shortage of reasons posited for the latest crisis and those preceding it, far fewer explanations have been forwarded to tell us why economies survive economic shocks and, despite dire predictions and expressions of gloom, recent crises have not been as disastrous as was once the case, notably as in the Depression years of the 1930s. During the Depression of the Thirties, production fell by a third between 1929 and 1933, unemployment reached 13 million and even by 1938 one person in five were unemployed. No economist has predicted these dire consequences even for the crisis of 2007–2009. In 1999, Paul Krugman published his short book: The Return of Depression Economics in which he not only reminded us of the 1930s Depression but suggested that the then economic crises bore an “eerie resemblance to the Great Depression.”1 He retreats within a few pages and describes the events as the Great Recession because the global damage has been “well short of Depression levels” (Krugman, 1999). A decade later, Krugman, by then a Nobel laureate for economics in 2008, began his 2009 revised edition of Return of Depression Economics thus: “The world economy is not in depression: it probably won't fall into depression (though I wish I could be completely sure about that)” (Krugman, 2009). By early January 2009, he surprised other economic commentators by using the term “depression” in his New York Times column.

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Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Simon Stander

In Marx, a commodity is a thing brought to the market for sale at a profit where it satisfies a want rather than a need and embodies labour power and is purchased by the…

Abstract

In Marx, a commodity is a thing brought to the market for sale at a profit where it satisfies a want rather than a need and embodies labour power and is purchased by the consumer as if it were a fetish. The term commodification did not come into usage until late in the 1970s but is now thrown around with some frequency, sometimes casually with imprecise meaning, sometimes more pointedly. Frequently it is used to indicate the shift of social activity previously conducted outside the market or commercial world generally, into the world of trade, money or exchange. Typical are these resolutions emanating from the headquarters of the ESIB, The National Unions of Students in Europe. The ESIB resolves to:Promote on an international level increased consciousness as to the current and possible future negative implications of commodification.Analyse in further detail the implications and consequences of commodification of education as well as the manner in which ESIB may positively contribute towards ensuring that education remains a public good.Encourage student unions and decision makers in higher education to involve themselves in the discussion relating to the commodification of education.3

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Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Simon Stander

The term reformism has been in frequent use by leftist critics who have seen reform as the biggest enemy of the revolution. If the capitalist system were proved to be in…

Abstract

The term reformism has been in frequent use by leftist critics who have seen reform as the biggest enemy of the revolution. If the capitalist system were proved to be in danger of collapsing under its own weight, then intervention by the “bourgeois” state to reform the system and to make concessions to, say, labour, then the system would continue essentially unchanged. Examples of reformism are, therefore, free elementary and secondary education for all, the welfare state generally, trade union legislation permitting collective bargaining and so on. The main philosophical ideologist of such reformist strategy was originally John Stuart Mill, simultaneously a classical economist and utilitarian and proponent of reformist tendencies and government intervention. The term reformism is also applied to the political process whereby socialism might be implemented through parliamentary means. The working-class interest could be introduced into a parliamentary system via the electoral process and lead to reform progressively that would result in steps or increments to a socialist society. This was very much the view of Sidney and Beatrice Webb and their Fabian followers in the Britain. One of the main opponents of reform or social reform, as she put it, was Rosa Luxemburg who saw such a process as leading to the death knell of the German socialism and, by extension, of socialism everywhere (Howard, 1971, p. 52).

Details

Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Simon Stander

This chapter discusses the extent to which the absorptive class has been created as essentially narcissistic in character by the system of capitalist production. Guy…

Abstract

This chapter discusses the extent to which the absorptive class has been created as essentially narcissistic in character by the system of capitalist production. Guy Debord, an early critic of a post modern capitalism, argued that capitalism had gone so far in the production of the commodity that society is turned into a mirror or spectacle that represents the kind of void in existence felt at the core of the individuals within it. He also laments the way in which the economy exists for its own sake, rather than for those that live within it and as part of it. In his somewhat incoherent work, The Society of the Spectacle, he writes of the commodity as spectacle, and we find such assertions as (Debord, 1983):“The spectacle aims at nothing other than itself.”“The spectacle subjugates living men to itself to the extent that the economy has totally subjugated them. It is not more than the economy developing for itself.”“The spectacle is capital to such a degree of accumulation that it becomes an image.”

Details

Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Simon Stander

Adam Smith, it is generally acknowledged, founded the modern discipline of political economy with the study entitled An Inquiry into The Wealth of Nations (1776) which he…

Abstract

Adam Smith, it is generally acknowledged, founded the modern discipline of political economy with the study entitled An Inquiry into The Wealth of Nations (1776) which he built upon the ethical system he presumed to exist in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Ricardo took Smith's observations somewhat further with his publication of On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817). When John Stuart Mill wrote his Principles of Political Economy in 1848, his considerations of economic processes were intimately connected with the political. By the time Marx published Das Kapital as a critique of political economy in 1867 the term was entrenched in both academic life and in common parlance and political circles. The study of economics was an integral part of the study of the state. Ironically, however, political economy was about to be upstaged by the development of economics as a separate and positivist discipline. William Stanley Jevons had published his “Brief Account of a General Mathematical Theory of Political Economy” in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society in the previous year. This was much more widely read at the time than Das Kapital. By 1890, Alfred Marshall had published his Principles of Economics. The book began with these words: “Political economy or economics is a study of mankind in the ordinary business of life.” The great tradition of seeing economics as an integral part of politics and vice versa was disappearing. However, though economists were anxious to convert that part of political economy known as economics and see it as a scientific discipline, the reality, that is the integrated nature of the state and the economy, remained. Simply because certain ideologues decided to separate politics from economics did not mean that the state in any sense disentangled itself from the economy or the economy from the state.

Details

Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Simon Stander

Capitalism has proved to be by far the best society at producing surpluses. Other societies at particular points in history have been effective, too. For instance Ancient…

Abstract

Capitalism has proved to be by far the best society at producing surpluses. Other societies at particular points in history have been effective, too. For instance Ancient Egyptians were obviously good at it, directing their surplus into building pyramids and great monuments. The Mayans, Incas and Aztecs were good at it too, in the same way as were the Neolithic builders of Stonehenge in England, the Callinish stones in the Hebrides and Carnac in Britanny. Capitalism, however, is unique in the sense that its capacity to produce surpluses far exceeds that of any other period or system. In addition, the capitalist system involves a threefold possibility for the utilization of the surpluses: consumption by individuals, consumption by the state for civil and military purposes and reinvestment by capitalists to produce more surplus. The balance among these three determines the stability of the system and the pace of growth. Consumption by the state is the least new phenomenon; here again, the pyramids of the Aztecs, Mayans and Egyptians are examples. What is new, and certainly new on the scale we now observe, is that the capitalist system is dependent on those individuals who collectively make up the absorptive class, and on the host of small and medium capitalists and the huge corporations to reinvest the surplus to make more capital. However, the system as a whole serves to destroy the surpluses when capitalist processes are such that the capacity to consume diminishes in relation to the quantities produced.

Details

Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Simon Stander

One of the main functions of the absorptive class is to minimize the impact of economic crisis within a given national economy and where possible to shift the impact of…

Abstract

One of the main functions of the absorptive class is to minimize the impact of economic crisis within a given national economy and where possible to shift the impact of economic crisis to less-developed or developing economies or indeed to another advanced economy. Hence the absorptive class displays the same feature of capitalism: it is simultaneously both national and international. This process of absorption is not done consciously, of course. It is the way the system has come to operate. Had the system not done so, capitalist economies would have lost a great degree of its capacity for resilience in the face of recurrent crises. Since the industrial revolution gathered momentum in England in the eighteenth century and spread rapidly to a limited number of countries in the world, economic crisis has been commonplace, threatening the very fabric of the economies created by the system. Economic crisis is taken to mean a severe disjuncture between production and consumption, marked by a reduction in economic growth. Depending on one's theoretical position economic crisis is caused by over-production or under-consumption or by some combination of the two. Adam Smith who published An Enquiry into the Wealth of Nations just about at the onset of the industrial revolution in England believed that any disjuncture between glut and scarcity was an effect of wrong-minded intervention by government. Left alone market forces would always tend toward the elimination of gluts. Thus, want of employment (the word unemployment was to be invented a 100 years later), so dangerous to the social fabric, would be avoided and capital accumulation would take place steadily in an unimpeded way. However, by the early nineteenth century, the British economy seemed to fluctuate ever more wildly than it had done in less industrial times, and as the urban population grew, such instability was especially feared by the ruling classes in Britain and, later, in Germany, the United States, France and Italy. Clearly, policy intervention by governments took place to manage such crises and the governments sought increasingly to achieve financial and price stability, and in Britain for instance this culminated in the Bank Charter Act of 1844, having 10 years previously introduced legislation aimed at achieving labour mobility with the infamous Poor Law Amendment Act.

Details

Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

Book part
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Abstract

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Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-587-7

Article
Publication date: 8 May 2009

Peggy Wallace

The purpose of this paper is to describe the use of Simone de Beauvoir's feminist existentialist philosophy in an empirical research study concerned with the career…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the use of Simone de Beauvoir's feminist existentialist philosophy in an empirical research study concerned with the career choices of women professional accountants.

Design/methodology/approach

A theoretical framework, based on de Beauvoir's philosophy, is developed. It is argued that her feminist philosophy provides an appropriate theoretical lens for the study of careers. The challenges encountered in developing this approach together with their resolution are described.

Findings

The theoretical framework informs the analysis and critique of the stories of career told by 13 women chartered accountants. Multiple meanings for the oft‐reported categories for leaving public accounting surface, extending the women‐in‐accounting literature.

Research limitations/implications

The use of a structured tool may obscure certain aspects of career or unduly highlight other aspects. The framework should be used in future studies of the careers of women professionals, e.g. lawyers and minority groups, such as men of colour to assess its contribution beyond the current study.

Practical implications

The generated insights can be used by the accounting firms to develop alternative human resources policies and practices in an effort to retain women accountants and by the profession in assessing the nature of the work.

Originality/value

The development of a research methodology incorporating individual voices, the role of personal agency in career and feminist existentialism, all of which are often absent from the research concerned with women accountants provides a more in‐depth understanding of careers and a way forward for further research on the subject.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 January 2015

Nadia Marie Wager

The purpose of this paper is to examine adult survivors’ of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) retrospective reflections on their motives for not disclosing their abuse. The aim…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine adult survivors’ of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) retrospective reflections on their motives for not disclosing their abuse. The aim was to identify factors that might facilitate early disclosure in order to both enhance the future safety of young people who have experienced sexual victimisation and to offer a means of reducing the numbers of future victims.

Design/methodology/approach

This was a retrospective web-based, mixed-methods survey which was completed by 183 adult survivors of CSA. The data presented here is in relation to answers offered in response to an open-ended question which were thematically analysed.

Findings

In all, 75 per cent of the survivors of CSA indicated that they had not told anyone of the abuse whilst they were a child. Analysis of the responses revealed five barriers to disclosure which included: a lack of opportunity, normality/ambiguity of the situation, embarrassment, concern for others and a sense of hopelessness. Additionally, some respondents highlighted implicit attempts to disclose and others reported later regret over non-disclosure.

Practical implications

A timely disclosure of CSA, which is appropriately responded to, has the potential to reduce the risk for subsequent sexual exploitation/revictimisation, and to foreshorten the predations of offenders. To achieve this, responsible and trusted adults in the lives of children need to learn how to invite a genuine disclosure of CSA.

Originality/value

This paper offers practical suggestions for parents and teachers on what signs indicate that an invitation might be warranted and for creating the right context for their invitation to be accepted.

Details

Safer Communities, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

Keywords

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