The Servant State

The Servant State

Fernwood Publishing | October 1, 2015 | 146 pages

The global financial and industrial turmoil of recent years has once more brought the crisis-prone nature of the capitalist system to the forefront. In the context of economic stagnation and the retreat of working-class organizations and leadership, the rich and powerful around the world have redoubled their attack on the poor through neoliberal policies and austerity measures. McCormack and Workman's study is informed by a theoretical sensitivity to capitalism's immanent tendencies towards crisis. It is within this framework that they analyze the machinations of the capitalist state as it responds to capitalist crises in each historical period and manoeuvres to optimize capital accumulation. From this standpoint, it is easier to grasp the unfolding of history, as the capitalist state oversees capital accumulation through various periods like early postwar Keynesianism, the rise of neoliberalism and now austerity. This understanding helps us to see that while reforms may change the visible landscape, the actions and policies of the capitalist state are always directed at achieving the same goal. In The Servant State: Overseeing Capital Accumulation in Canada, McCormack and Workman explore Canada's experience through the "age of austerity" and highlight how this experience has been shaped by the specific way capitalist development has unfolded in Canada and the role of the state in this process. The analytical standpoint is not that of the oppressed per se, but rather that of capitalism as a whole. They share the condemnation of the capitalist establishment, are appalled by the greed and avarice of the ruling elite and despair at the obscenities of the age; however, the critical spirit of their study is imbued less with a mood of indignation and more with assumptions and sensitivities about the inner tendencies of capitalism and the supportive role of the state. The struggle against contemporary excess and horror must be framed with reference to the immuring tendencies of the capitalist order of things.

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ISBN: 9781552667835

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