Robert Brenner's contribution to the history of post-war capitalism provides a stimulating basis for the opening of a debate on this subject. I will begin with some critical remarks before putting forward a number of alternative propositions on the functioning of contemporary capitalism.
Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, provides a monumental database for the history of capitalism. But the author’s interpretation of these data is based on an inconsistent theoretical framework that constantly oscillates between two definitions of capital: either capital as accumulated drawing rights on the value created; or capital as a factor of production in the neoclassical tradition. Capital as a social relation is forgotten and the history of capitalism appears as an accounting mechanism.