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The origins of the ‘leftist’ failure to oppose austerity

I note the calls for more discussion on the trap that the ‘left’ has made for itself by buying into the globalisation/political capture myth. As I have noted previously, I am currently researching a new book on this topic which might appear in 2016 but more likely early 2017, such is the delays in publishing. My current research is focusing on the 1960s and 1970s. I am exploring the deep infighting within the French state between the ‘Keynesians’ in the planning ministry and the ‘Monetarists’ in the finance ministry, which shaped the way the French ‘left’ dealt with issues of monetary integration and the like. I am also tracing the evolution of ‘left’ macroeconomic thinking, or rather, the absence of it, in the late 1960s as the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system collapsed and fiat currency freedom was taken up by governments around the world. In 1973, after several years of work, American sociologist James O’Connor published his book “The Fiscal Crisis of the State”, which was considered by many on the ‘left’ to explain why the Keynesian policy era had failed. This book and the derivative literature that followed it was extremely influential among ‘left’ scholars and effectively negated their capacity to challenge, what by the mid-1970s, was becoming the Monetarist resurgence. We can trace back the failure of the ‘left’ to fight against austerity to this period. This is just part of the work I am doing on this topic at present.

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