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The crisis of global (and Australian) capitalism that began in the early 1970s was a phenomenon that has been the subject of many competing explanations. Often, however, these accounts artificially separate the economic and the cultural as forces of social change. The result can be forms of reductionism that, although acknowledging important causal factors, fail to link the economic and extra-economic moments of capitalism within a theoretically rigorous political economy. This article deploys a critical political economy perspective that unifies the economic and the cultural within the capitalist mode of production. We do this through a study of Peter Carey’s novella, War Crimes1 (1996, first published in 1978), appearing at a critical juncture in the crisis of post-war Australian capitalism. In particular, our work represents both an extension of the work of Terry Eagleton (1976a, 1976b), Pierre Macherey (1978), Fredric Jameson (1981) and Michael Wilding (1981)2 in materialist literary theory and its unification with the Parisian Régulation Approach (PRA).