disorganized capitalismthe tendency of modern CAPITALISM, and its class structures, to become increasingly disorganized in the following respects (Offe, 1985; Lash and Urry 1987):
- the growth of a ‘world market’, a decline in the regulation of national markets by dominant corporations, by tariffs, cartels, etc, and at the same time a declining capacity of individual nation states to control their own economic destinies. This includes a breakdown in ‘neocorporatist’ forms of state regulation and the provision of social welfare, which is associated with the appearance of contradictions between these state forms and the accumulation of capital (e.g. the appearance of ‘fiscal crises’);
- the expansion of the SERVICE CLASS(ES), existing between CAPITAL and LABOUR, and the appearance of ‘new social movements’ (e.g. ecological and womens movements), and a movement away from old ‘class politics’; these developments are associated with the decline of labour-intensive traditional heavy industry in the West, as the result of the export of jobs to the Third World and with the introduction of new flexible, knowledge-based and labour-saving forms of work organization in new high tech and service areas of production;
- an increasing cultural fragmentation, pluralism, etc, including political pluralism, and the undermining of distinctive national identities, cultural values, etc;
- a tendency for societies to be continuously transformed ‘from above’, and ‘from below’, so that ideas and cultures, industries and cities, as well as classes, are kept in a state of flux.
In contrast with earlier notions that ADVANCED CAPITALISM is either more organized than earlier forms of capitalism – by virtue of the introduction of state controls, monopoly, etc. – or will ultimately involve a final crisis, the concept of ‘disorganized capitalism’ in the above, modern, sense involves a doctrine neither of stability nor breakdown, but rather it sees continual adjustments within capitalism.