Expelled: Humans in Capitalisms Deepening Crisis

Saskia Sassen


As the Cold War was winding down, a new struggle began. Following a period of diverse versions of Keynesian-led relative redistribution in developed market economies, the United States became the point actor for a radical reshuffiing of capitalism. Key to this reshuffiing was expulsion - of people, places, and traditional economies (see Sassen 2014). While this is a socio-economic condition it is a critical, but invisible, element of the current political crisis. Measuring economic growth to understand whether government policies are working, or measuring political participation in terms of voting, excludes growing portions of our political economy - people, specific types of firms and economic circuits, and spaces. The Keynesian period was one of mass production and mass construction of suburban space: this brought with it an economic logic that valued people as workers and consumers, though not necessarily as human beings. The logic guiding the current phase of advanced capitalism does not value people as workers or as (mass) consumers. Thus, in the last two decades there has been a sharp growth in the numbers of people that have been "expelled" from the economy in much of the world. The active expanding of a middle class in that earlier period has been replaced by the impoverishment and shrinking of the middle class.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2013.495


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