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The Global Financial Crisis and a New Capitalism?

  • Luiz Carlos Bresser-Pereira

The 2008 global financial crisis was the consequence of the process (1) of financialization, or the creation of massive fictitious financial wealth, that began in the 1980s; and (2) the hegemony of a reactionary ideology-namely, neoliberalism-based on self-regulated and efficient markets. Although laissez-faire capitalism is intrinsically unstable, the lessons of the 1929 stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s were transformed into theories and institutions or regulations that led to the "30 glorious years of capitalism" (1948–77) and that could have helped avoid a financial crisis as profound as the present one. But it did not, because a coalition of rentiers and "financists" achieved hegemony and, while deregulating the existing financial operations, refused to regulate the financial innovations that made these markets even riskier. Neoclassical economics played the role of a meta-ideology as it legitimized, mathematically and "scientifically," neoliberal ideology and deregulation. From this crisis a new democratic capitalist system will emerge, though its character is difficult to predict. It will not be financialized, but the glory years' tendencies toward a global and knowledge-based capitalism in which professionals have more say than rentier capitalists, as well as the tendency to improve democracy by making it more social and participative, will be resumed.

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Paper provided by Levy Economics Institute in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number wp_592.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_592
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  1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2008. "Banking Crises: An Equal Opportunity Menace," NBER Working Papers 14587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pereira, Luiz Carlos Bresser & Nakano, Yoshiaki, 2002. "Economic Growth With Foreign Saving?," Textos para discussão 118, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  3. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
  4. José Gabriel Palma, 2009. "The revenge of the market on the rentiers," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 829-869, July.
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw, 2006. "The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer," NBER Working Papers 12349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521144537 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Bresser Pereira, Luiz Carlos, 1993. "Economic reforms and cycles of state intervention," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(8), pages 1337-1353, August.
  8. Davidson, Paul, 1972. "Money and the Real World," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(325), pages 101-15, March.
  9. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
  10. Gala, Paulo Sérgio de Oliveira Simões & Pereira, Luiz Carlos Bresser, 2008. "Why foreign savings fail to cause growth," Textos para discussão 159, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  11. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
  12. Pereira, Luiz Carlos Bresser, 2008. "Crises financeira nos anos 1990 e poupança externa," Textos para discussão 172, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
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