Law and Political Economy blog

by Henry on November 13, 2017

A new blog and a new intellectual movement, launched by David Singh Grewal, Amy Kapczynski and Jed Purdy:

This is a time of crises. Inequality is accelerating, with gains concentrated at the top of the income and wealth distributions. This trend – interacting with deep racialized and gendered injustice – has had profound implications for our politics, and for the sense of agency, opportunity, and security of all but the narrowest sliver of the global elite…. Law is central to how these crises were created, and will be central to any reckoning with them. Law conditions race and wealth, social reproduction and environmental destruction. Law also conditions the political order through which we must respond. … We propose a new departure – a new orientation to legal scholarship that helps illuminate how law and legal scholarship facilitated these shifts, and formulates insights and proposals to help combat them. A new approach of this sort is, we believe, in fact emerging: a coalescing movement of “law and political economy.”

The approach we call law and political economy is rooted in a commitment to a more egalitarian and democratic society. Scholars working in this vein are seeking to reconnect political conversations about the economic order with questions of dignity, belonging, or “recognition” and to challenge versions of “freedom” or “rights” that ignore or downplay social and economic power. …We pursue these egalitarian and democratic commitments through a set of theoretical premises. Politics and the economy cannot be separated. Politics both creates and shapes the economy. In turn, politics is profoundly shaped by economic relations and economic power. Attempts to separate the economy from politics make justice harder to pursue in both domains…. Our project is hopeful in spirit. Rigorous criticism is the precondition of viable hope. To think realistically about the ways that another world is possible, we have to understand the ways that our own has been made, with all of its hierarchies and harms, and to see how the same tools that made it might remake it differently. The point is to understand the world in order to change it, which begins by making it less resistant to both change and understanding.

{ 7 comments }

1

JRLRC 11.13.17 at 11:09 pm

Seems interesting.
And this (not completely off topic) seems relevant: https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/545738/

2

Mario 11.13.17 at 11:35 pm

This is a time of crises. Inequality is accelerating, with gains concentrated at the top of the income and wealth distributions. This trend – interacting with deep racialized and gendered injustice – has had profound implications for our politics, and for the sense of agency, opportunity, and security of all but the narrowest sliver of the global elite…

Indeed, indeed…

The approach we call law and political economy is rooted in a commitment to a more egalitarian and democratic society.

Sounds very good. But is that actionable?

Scholars working in this vein are seeking to reconnect political conversations about the economic order with questions of dignity, belonging, or “recognition” and to challenge versions of “freedom” or “rights” that ignore or downplay social and economic power.

I guess that’s great, because at the end we will have reconnected political conversations about the economic order with questions of dignity, belonging, or “recognition”. Also, we’d have challenged versions of “freedom” or “rights” that ignore or downplay social and economic power.

What a large and effective step towards a better world.

3

Alvaro Hernandez 11.14.17 at 7:48 am

Wonderful new blog by the students/faculty & colleagues from around the US on “Law and Political Economy”, but really on the entire ecology of our current historical moment.

4

Marc 11.14.17 at 12:51 pm

This is important and valuable work. My main critique is that the items there so far are long, and a bit repetitive; some editing and pruning would help drive the central points (which are interesting) home.

5

Ebenezer Scrooge 11.15.17 at 10:57 pm

Eh. Looks like a bunch of lefty law professors bored with the law. From their description of their movement, it looks like the legal component is around the parts per billion level.

6

Rapier 11.16.17 at 10:09 pm

The old wish for a more humanitarian economics. Sorry, economics isn’t about humans.

7

Antonin 11.17.17 at 4:35 pm

A tale of two sentences :

“Law […] conditions the political order through which we must respond.”

“In turn, politics is profoundly shaped by economic relations and economic power.”

Marxists will dispute the relevance of the former, liberals will avoid any concrete engagement with the latter for fear of being tagged as marxists.

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