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The Capital Order - How Economists Invented Austerity & Paved the Way to Fascism

Clara Mattei
Institute for New Economic Thinking, 2022
Level: beginner
Perspective: Marxian Political Economy
Topic: Crises, Criticism of Capitalism, Economic History, Inequality & Class, Labour & Care, Social movements & Transformation
Format: Interview
Duration: 16:32

In this amazing 15-minute video, Clara Mattei explains the key ideas of her book ‚Capital Order‘ - How Economists Invented Austerity and paved the way to fascism“. She starts by rejecting the Keynesian problematization of austerity as a ‚bad idea‘, something that is dysfunctional or self-defeating in relation to economic growth. Instead, she investigates the function of austerity in relation the stabilization of capitalism as a form of social order build around private property, wage labor and class relations. In order to develop this argument, she situates austerity in the history of World War 1 and its revolutionary aftermath. Zooming in on the politicization of the economy and the associated threat to class society that emerged in the period, she highlights how austerity was a „tool of reaction“ and a political project that was successful in curtailing demands for economic democracy and a society free from class oppression. From there, she discusses, the role of (mainstream) economic expertise in relation to this political project and criticizes its role in disguising the materiality of class oppression inherent in austerity.

Comment from our editors:

The video provides a short and concise overivew over Clara Mattei's thinking on austerity as a form of class warfare from above. It is thus very much advisable not only for economics students and economists, but for everyone with an interest in a fair and just economy - especially for working people as those, who are the most negatively effected by austerity. This is especially true as Clara Mattei's Analysis could not be more timely: With interest rates rising and budget cuts being implemented across the board, we might be witnessing a new age of austerity.

Go to: The Capital Order - How Economists Invented Austerity & Paved the Way to Fascism

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