Who loves ya, baby?
Jameson goes on about some bloke called Arrighi who said as much.Well that's what they say. You reach saturation point. Everyone has a tv, a fridge, a phone, a home computer, a microwave, a vcr, a car, and then your economy goes into speculation mode, money making money. This is one reason why countries like China have those kind of growth rates because not everyone there has a cheese toastie machine yet. I think that's how it goes?
We have had to wait for a remarkable book by Giovanni Arrighi, The Long Twentieth Century, for a brand-new theory of finance capitalism which completely rewrites our picture of the stages of capitalism itself. Arrighi begins with a remark of the great world historian Fernand Braudel: “Every capitalist development of this order seems, by reaching the stage of financial expansion, to have in some sense announced its maturity: it is a sign of autumn.”3 The yellow leaves of capitalism are apparent when a specific market has been saturated: production slows down, there is no longer any burning need for refrigerators, automobiles, personal computers, there is no expansion possible in the area of production in general; and at that point financial speculation must begin and profits be made in this higher-level or more abstract fashion, capitalism now as it were profiting from itself and speculating on itself, feeding on itself, by way of the stock market and its allied institutions. Arrighi’s insight in fact proposes a three-stage theory of evolution, first a specific market is opened and colonized; then the great moment of production saturates it; and finally, in some third autumnal stage, finance capital sets in and takes over a stagnating economy.
But this account must be supplemented by a geographical one, in which the emergence of capitalism is mapped and charted by a systematic displacement and enlargement of its centers: from Genoa and the Italian city-states to Spain, from Spain to Holland, Holland to England, and thence ultimately to the United States. Each of these stopping points runs through the entire cycle of the three stages before capital, having exhausted its financial moment, takes flight and moves on to greater possibilities elsewhere. We are now, in the United States, obviously in our financial stage, the stage of speculation of all kinds; and we must, with Arrighi, remain uncertain as to what will follow once that stage is exhausted. (But Chinese production and the immense Chinese market cast a suggestive shadow on the longer future.)