Depoliticisation, the Management of Money and the Renewal of Social Democracy: New Labour's Keynesianism and the Political Economy of 'Discretionary Constraint'

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Abstract

Pointing to its radical underpinnings in so-called ‘Open Marxism’ and its theory of the state (one that subsumes the state in the capital relation), this article critically scrutinises Peter Burnham's thesis of ‘depoliticisation’ as a dominant accumulation strategy and regime. The article identifies ambiguities around Burnham's depiction of New Labour in power as committed to depoliticisation. It addresses these by drawing a distinction between regime of accumulation and mode of regulation, characterising New Labour's political economy in terms of the latter as a form of depoliticised Keynesianism framed by ‘discretionary constraint’. Contra-Burnham, the article points to the continued efficacy of Keynesian and social democratic political agency in the context of a dialectic of depoliticisation and repoliticisation focused on the role and power of the state. This dialectic is symptomatic of the contested regulation of capitalism around the defence of the value of money, on the one hand, and its broader management and redistribution, on the other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-154
Number of pages17
JournalNew Political Economy
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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