New book tackles capitalist transformation without revolution

A new book by Dr Albena Azmanova, Reader of Political and Social Thought at the Brussels School of International Studies, claims that our societies are on the precipice of a radical social transformation, even though capitalism is not on the edge of its collapse, there is no revolution on the horizon, and no seductive Utopias are showing the road ahead.

Titled Capitalism on Edge (Columbia University Press), the book calls for an unusual alliance to challenge capitalism’s unfair outcomes, arguing that contemporary capitalism has created an economically precarious life for people globally. Widespread economic insecurity ails the 99% across differences in income, education, and professional occupation; it is the underlying cause of such diverse hardships as work-related stress and chronic unemployment.

On the one hand, insecurity triggers conservative instincts within voters and has fuelled support to the political right, disappointing the Left’s expectations that the economic meltdown of 2008 would radicalize people into socialism. On the other hand, fighting this economic instability can become the platform on which an alliance of forces can unite for a new social agenda, to replace the growth-and-redistribution formula that has proven so harmful to the environment.

Dr Azmanova argues that in order to take advantage of the opportunity for radical change our time contains, society must go beyond the old ideological certitudes of, on the left, fighting inequality and, on the right, increasing competition. Capitalism on Edge details the necessary reforms to transform the current system without a revolution.

Dr Azmanova said: ‘Fighting economic precariousness is the proper road of progressive politics in our age. It amounts to overcoming capitalism without a grand crisis of capitalism, a revolution, or utopias like Socialism.’

Robert B. Reich, U.S. Secretary of Labor has said that Dr Azmanova’s book provides a new way of understanding modern capitalism through profit-driven corporations generating endless insecurity and finding a reason for hope.

Dr Azmanova is Reader of Political Theory and Social Thought at the University of Kent’s Brussels School of International Studies. Her research interests include the transformation of capitalism, democratic transition and consolidation and theories of justice and judgment.