The Political Constitution of Contemporary Capitalism
Christian Joerges, Bo Stråth and Peter Wagner (eds.),The Economy as a Polity. London: Cavendish Press 2005.
The debate about so-called economic globalisation has reached a new phase. In the face of increased and increasingly effective resistance to the consequences of neo-liberal market-making, and the visibly dysfunctional effects of lack of regulation, the hegemony of neo-liberal thinking has ended. The story of ‘the rise and fall of market society’, first told by Karl Polanyi 60 years ago, is about to receive a new chapter. This volume thus offers a timely perspective on the developing interaction between states and markets. In contrast to much current theoretical wisdom, the book follows the argument of Polanyi that markets cannot be consistently thought of as self-regulating: they are always constituted by framework conditions that cannot be set by the markets themselves. By viewing the economy as polity, this collection explores how, in theoretical terms, even the most pure version of economic liberalism always entails at the same time a political philosophy.
Through historical analyses – of the current state of regulation of labour and money, and investigations of the development of modes of embedding market – this volume expands upon its theoretical discussions to contribute new angles of analysis to the debate. In doing so it points to fruitful directions of political renewal, with a particular focus on the EU as a novel polity embedding the European economy.