Time's Up: Positive Externalities Turning Negative

Wolfgang Streeck

in Re-Forming Capitalism

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199573981
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702136 | DOI:
Time's Up: Positive Externalities Turning Negative

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For a while, positive externalities were beneficial for institutional settings since they drive endogenous tendencies toward disorganization and keeps negative externalities to a minimum. By the mid-1990s however, positive externalities had generated destructive side effects as mutual reinforcement paved the way for mutual obstruction and support for existing forms of social order resulted in disorganization. Disorganizing tendencies were reinforced across sectors when mechanisms that supposedly brought about equilibrium stopped working because of internal exhaustion or modifications in external situations. Although time has had effects as an essential element in analysing social systems, this chapter suggests that the age of a social system affects how long a system is likely to remain capable of withstanding both internal and external developments for fundamental change.

Keywords: positive externalities; negative externalities; disorganization; time; age

Chapter.  4505 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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