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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: June 2012

7 - Twenty-First Century Breakdown? Challenges to Coordination in the Postindustrial Age


What we want to suggest, however, is that this era of “organized capitalism” … has, in certain societies, come to an end, and there is a set of tremendously significant transformations which have recently been literally “disorganizing” contemporary capitalist societies (Lash and Urry 1987, 2)


In the late twentieth century, globalization, deindustrialization, slower economic growth and the rise of neoliberal ideologies challenged countries’ capacities for collective political engagement. Nations with robust collective social identities and substantial labor market coordination were considered particularly vulnerable to the assaults of a changing economy. Cooperation is always easier when resources are plentiful, and deindustrialization and depressed growth rates reduced the fiscal slack available for easing social tensions. Thus, coordinated market economies were expected to decentralize collective bargaining, and to converge on a neoliberal model of limited state intervention in the market.