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The economic surplus as a fund for social change and post-neoliberal governance

Wrenn, MV


Mary Wrenn
Senior Lecturer in Economics


The central problem in capitalism today is not one of scarce resources clashing against innate, insatiable wants. Rather, the modern problem of monopoly capitalism is one of abundance of production clashing against scarcity of consumers. Indeed, sustaining growth while fighting against excess capacity proves to be the biggest battle in business today, fought by the capitalist power structure with the tools of neoliberalism and globalization. The economic surplus, roughly sketched, represents that gap between productive resources and consumption, and thus represents the abundance that is possible given current technology. The argument set forth is that the economic surplus remains a powerful tool in describing economic relationships and social justice issues within the context of the Great Capitalist Restoration, but more importantly, that the economic surplus represents a tool for social change. The potential for socially just amelioration and change within post-neoliberal governance is explored with explicit reference to the qualitative and instrumental framework proposed by Ron Stanfield in his somewhat overlooked but incredibly important piece, “The Fund for Social Change” (1992).


Wrenn, M. (2011). The economic surplus as a fund for social change and post-neoliberal governance. Forum for Social Economics, 40(1), 99-117.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2010
Online Publication Date Dec 23, 2011
Publication Date Jan 1, 2011
Journal Forum for Social Economics
Print ISSN 0736-0932
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 1
Pages 99-117
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Forum for Social Economics on 23rd December 2011, available online:


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