Crisis System: A Critical Realist and Environmental Critique of Economics and the Economy, Chapter 6, pp 89-108

This chapter interrogates the ontologically stratified nature of crises from a general critical realist perspective. The distinction between money as money and money as capital is one of Marx’s critical contributions to the critique of political economy and the analysis of crises. In particular critical realism distinguishes real mechanisms, actual events and processes, and empirical observations. Thus the challenge is to relate the empirical symptoms, actual crisis, and underlying mechanisms as a basis for possible decisive interventions. This is the field of ‘symptomatology’. A general critical realist perspective can also illuminate issues such as crisis management, crises of crisis management, and lesson drawing. Critical realism relates scientific knowledge production to the distinction between the intransitive and transitive moments of scientific inquiry. The chapter provides meta-theoretical grounds for preferring some approaches, notably critical realism, over others by establishing rigorous criteria of ‘judgemental rationality’ for choosing among them.