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Another benefit of this book is its clear introduction and survey of key historical moments in Burma's history; kings, colonialism, lay meditation movements, monks' protests in 1988 and 2007, and even a discussion of Aung San Suu Kyi make their way into the 154 pages of Conjunctures.
But he does also talk about using the notion of conjuncture in a broader, more methodological way: as a way of marking significant transitions between different political moments; that is to say, to apply it as a general system of analysis to any historical situation.
Doreen One of the reasons for needing to understand the structural character of the current conjuncture is that, as you say, it's not predetermined what the outcome will be, or what will happen.
Doreen Do you think, though, that finance is crucial to the conjuncture that we've just been through-if it's ended?
My understanding of the current conjuncture is that it begins with the collapse of the welfare state and Keynesian demand-management, and all of the thinking that went with that.
If the place of the conjuncture is difficult to analyse, then its time is equally so.
There are certainly the crisis tendencies that I have just described, but it is important to think the conjuncture rather more widely, to see just how much may be condensed into the sense of the present as a crisis.
In such ways, the conjuncture needs to be seen as more than the maturing of economic or political-economic contradictions.
In these terms, the New Economy period from 1996 to 2000, or the excess liquidity period from 2000 to 2007, were both distinct and successive conjunctures.
Part of the problem is the discrepancies and contradictions within conjunctures, which are only self-fulfilling up to a point.
It helps us to understand how and why coupon pool capitalism is inherently unstable, and can generate such different outcomes in two successive conjunctures.