Business as Usual

The Roots of the Global Financial Meltdown

312 pages

2 illustrations

May, 2011

ISBN: 9780814772782



Also available in



Part of the Possible Futures series


Craig Calhoun is Director of the London School of Economics and Global Distinguished Professor of Sociology at New York University. His most recent book is The Roots of Radicalism: Tradition, the Public Sphere, and Early Nineteenth-Century Social Movements.

All books by Craig Calhoun

Georgi Derluguian is Associate Professor of International Studies and Sociology at Northwestern University and is the author of Bourdieu's Secret Admirer in the Caucasus: A World-System Biography.

All books by Georgi Derluguian

Situates the current crisis in the historical trajectory of the capitalist world-system, showing how the crisis was made possible not only by neoliberal financial reforms but by a massive turn away from manufacturing things of value towards seeking profit from financial exchange and credit. Much more basic than the result of a few financial traders cheating the system, this is a potential historical turning point. In original essays, the contributors establish why the system was ripe for crisis of the past, and yet why this meltdown was different. The volume concludes by asking whether as deep as the crisis is, it may contain seeds of a new global economy, what role the US will play, and whether China or other countries will rise to global leadership.

Contributors include: Giovanni Arrighi, Gopal Balakrishnan, Manuel Castells, Daniel Chirot, Fernando Coronil, Nancy Fraser, James K. Galbraith, David Harvey, Caglar Keyder, Beverly J. Silver, and Immanuel Wallerstein.

Business as Usual is the first part of a trilogy comprised of the first three books in the Possible Future series.

Volume 1: Business as Usual
Volume 2: The Deepening Crisis
Volume 3: Aftermath

The three volumes are linked by a common introduction and can be purchased individually or as a set.


  • “A brilliant and inspiring collection of analyses from world-renowned international social theorists and political economists, far-reaching in its implications for our understanding, not just of the current crisis, but of its historical roots and the importance of politics to the future of global socio-economic structures.”

    —Kate Nash, author of The Cultural Politics of Human Rights

  • “There may be a silver lining to the global financial meltdown of 2008, for it has made possible a book such as this one. In Business as Usual, Craig Calhoun and Georgi Derluguian have brought together some of ‘the best and brightest’ in the business and given them a most unusual task: to tell the story of the financial crisis in all its complexity, in a manner that is both clear and precise. The result is critical social science at its best: more than explanation, prediction or prescription, this book offers the promise of actual understanding.”

    —Ivan Ascher, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

  • "The high quality of the wide-ranging essays makes this volume a worthwhile addition to library collections and a valuable resource for both students and specialists wanting to explore the complex roots of the financial crisis."

    —M. Perelman, Choice

  • “Calhoun and Derlugian’s co-edited book will be important for sociologists because of the wide range of arguments enlisted in an attempt to correlate the various parameters and focus discussion on specific theoretical aspects of the crisis.”

    Critical Sociology