The argument of this paper is that after the crisis of 2008 which has turned into an enduring stagnation amidst proliferating violence, capitalist property relations are increasingly being upheld by authoritarian means. The mode of production and social organisation, including the supremacy of the West in international affairs, has lost its self-evidence in the face of a deepening crisis of the biosphere and the effective running aground of the accumulation process on a world scale. Under these circumstances, processes of class formation on both sides of the historic divide between a liberal West and a series of contender states are converging along the lines of authoritarian, oligarchic capitalism.
The paper argues that corporate liberal capitalism based on class compromise in the 1980s was displaced by to neoliberalism, initially intended to restore systemic market discipline but increasingly degenerating into speculative, predatory forms undermining the forces of stability in the global political economy and fostering oligarchic enrichment. A contradiction is identified between global oligarchic convergence on the one hand and conflict at the level of political (governing and state) elites on the other, and which explains the current turbulence in the global political economy.