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Lessons of the Golden Age: An Overview

Lessons of the Golden Age: An Overview

(p.1) 1 Lessons of the Golden Age: An Overview
The Golden Age of Capitalism
Stephen A. Marglin
Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the historical and theoretical arguments of the book. It differentiates causes and triggers. It notes that conventional wisdom dates the end of the ‘golden age’ by the first oil shock, OPEC I in 1973. The second oil shock, OPEC II in 1979, is conventionally argued to have ushered in the current phase of neoliberalism, monetarism, and the return to the market. However, this book's argument explains that OPEC I and II are not fundamental causes but triggers which set off forces that had deep roots in the internal economies of the industrial countries and in the relationships among them and between them and the Third World. It discusses the relationship between the underlying reasons why different periods of postwar capitalism ended (‘causes’) and the events that sparked off these ends (‘triggers’).

Keywords:   causes, triggers, postwar capitalism, OPEC I, OPEC II, oil shocks, golden age, Third World

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