Shifting Powers, and other blind spots in understanding the crisis

Shifting Powers, and other blind spots in understanding the crisis

Did greed, financial speculation and housing bubbles cause the economic crisis? No, the world economy is just going through a decades-long downwave of yet another long ‘business cycle’. Long business cycles are driven by technological developments and accompanied by huge shifts in geopolitical power. What’s more, these cycles are inherent to capitalism. So the crisis is not caused by a ‘shock’ to capitalism, but an inevitable symptom of capitalism! Marxists know this, businessmen know this.

Dr. Howard Nicholas. Economics of Sustainable Development (SG1). International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) Erasmus University Rotterdam.

That is the position of Dr. Howard Nicholas, the speaker of this Real World Economics session. He is one of the most renowned authorities on Marxist economics at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague (ISS), a recipient of the Best Lecturer Award for nine consecutive years, and known for his ability to explain complex economic phenomena in simple terms.

In 2008, at the very first Real World Economics session, he predicted that the coming crisis ‘would scare the hell out of us’. Five years later, he argues there are still many blindspots in mainstream analyses of the crisis. Why are business cycles important to understand? How is geopolitical power shifting from the West towards developing countries? What’s the hidden goal behind Europe’s suicidal austerity policy? And why do we need to eliminate debts before we can have another upswing in the world economy?

Howard Nicholas will cover these issues in his talk and engage in an open discussion with the audience afterwards.

students free, € 5,- all others


  • See a video & report (in dutch) of a previous lecture by Howard Nicholas, organized by Critical Collective in The Hague, here
  • Hear the audio and read the powerpoint of Howard Nicholas’ talk at Real World Economics Amsterdam in 2008 here, in which he predicted: “there’s no avoiding a monster depression in the West, and it will last for a very long time”.

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