There has been a debate whether the contemporary Western countries are capitalist class states, or are above classes – representing the common interests of the capitalists and the workers. On the basis of a functional analysis, the study comes to the conclusion that the governments simultaneously represent capitalist accumulation, charity, social interests as well as political interests serving social peace and their own administrative interests. As a result of this various functions are mixed in the price-, income-, and employment policy: their origin and development become confused.
Rules of capitalist development force the capitalist class to have a qualitatively expanded reproduction of the community labour force. With this the onesided specialisation of the individual work force is ended and the reproduction of the total capital is subordinated to the production of the total labour force: the history of the pre-communist societies comes to an end. Every society is doomed to failure which is based on the material capital accumulation. This is equally true of the classical capitalism based on the reproduction of separate private capital and of state monopoly socialism based on the accumulation of material total capital.
Instead of the numerous common interpretations of Stalinism, the author makes a historical analysis and comes to the conclusion: that it is the radical and one-sided realisation of replacing, non-market mechanisms that emerged on the ground of capitalism, and that Stalinism can be regarded as a modernisation dead end of the capitalist society.
Description and criticism of the analysis of present day capitalism by Claus Offe. Explanation for the ability of capitalism to renew; crisis averting mechanisms; specific features of modern capitalism that make it different from earlier ones. It discusses the issue of how much can capitalism be harmonised with democracy and to what extent is the thesis on their basic incompatibility still valid today.