In referring in my title here to “A Failed System” I do not of course mean that capitalism as a system is in any sense at an end. Rather I mean by “failed system” a global economic and social order that increasingly exhibits a fatal contradiction between reality and reason—to the point, in our time, where it threatens not only human welfare but also the continuation of most sentient forms of life on the planet. Three critical contradictions make up the contemporary world crisis emanating from capitalist development: (1) the current Great Financial Crisis and stagnation/depression; (2) the growing threat of planetary ecological collapse; and (3) the emergence of global imperial instability associated with shifting world hegemony and the struggle for resources
If you’re looking for the deep underlying narratives that can help bring clarity to the current unsettled state of our world, then this essay by John Foster is an excellent starting point. Be forewarned that this is not an easy read and somewhat technical in it’s historical summary of economic theory, however if deeper understanding is your goal, reading this essay is well worth the effort.