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disorganized capitalism


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A term used to describe the fragmentation of socio-economic groups in the economy, state, and civil society of advanced capitalism (see, for example, S. Lash and J. Urry, The End of Organised Capitalism, 1987; C. Offe, Disorganized Capitalism, 1985). The organized interaction of capital (into corporations) and labour (into trade unions) characteristic of corporate society and finance capitalism has allegedly broken down—principally as a result of economic restructuring and recession. It is argued that changes in the occupational structure, the demise of full employment, growing divisions between the employed and unemployed, the growth of the service industries and the increasing size of the informal sector have had profound implications for the political process in liberal democracies. Interrelated problems in the state include the failure of corporatist organizations to fulfil their objectives, difficulties of managing both political demands and distributional conflicts, and class dealignment. As a consequence, liberal-democratic assumptions about political participation and representation are undermined. Finally, economic and political disorganization has implications for the nature of civil society, notably by encouraging the growth of a post-modern culture, which is linked to fragmented specific interest groups other than social classes.

Subjects: Sociology.


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