Does capitalism have a future?

Wolfgang Streeck, Craig Calhoun, Polly Toynbee, Amitai Etzioni

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This discussion forum is based on the roundtable discussion at the 27th Annual Conference of the Society for Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) hosted at the London School of Economics. The discussion presents recent work on capitalism as an evolving historical formation by Wolfgang Streeck and Craig Calhoun, together with contributions by British journalist Polly Toynbee and SASE founder Amitai Etzioni. Streeck opens with a reflection on major trends of capitalism that now pose ungovernable contradictions and thus point to an end of capitalism as a viable historical formation. Despite these contradictions, Calhoun sees capitalism as unlikely to undergo a rapid breakdown, but likely to generat continued challenges related to financial risks, limited international cooperation, negative externalities and growth of illicit forms of capitalism. Toynbee focuses on how these themes relate to the contemporary situation in the UK, outlining the growth in social inequalities and theweakness of social solidarity needed to generate political constraints on these trends. Finally, Etzioni reflects on the prospects for a postcapitalism, where work and consumption are no longer the central social identity around which social institutions are constructed. Together, the panelists present a bleak picture of the future for capitalism, which is likely to be a period of lasting disorder, where new moral foundations of a post-capitalism remain as elusive as they are necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163
Number of pages1
JournalSocio-Economic Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Capitalism
  • Inequality
  • Political economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • Sociology and Political Science


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