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Special Project

Rethinking Political Economy

Rethinking Political Economy begins with a world in crisis—after forty years of market fundamentalism—and asks how we build a new one. We debate new ways to think about protecting the planet, the relationship of equality and democracy, the need for racially inclusive prosperity, the promise of industrial policy, the dangers of concentrated economic power, and a revival of investment in public goods.

We are pleased to announce a new Boston Review series, Rethinking Political Economy. Picking up where Democracy’s Promise left off, this new effort begins with a world in crisis and asks how we build a new one.

The starting point is to reject market fundamentalism. The dominant framework of politics and policy for forty years, market fundamentalism is defined by a narrowly individualistic picture of society, an untenable separation of states and markets, a limited sense of political possibilities, and a lack of confidence in the capacity of democracy to address public problems. In the United States, its failures are manifest in environmental catastrophe, shameful income and wealth inequality, racial injustice, failing public health infrastructure, and populist degradation of democracy.

Rethinking Political Economy will provide space for advancing alternatives in theory, politics, and policy. We will debate new ways to think about protecting the planet, the relationship of equality and democracy, the need for racially inclusive prosperity, the promise of industrial policy, the dangers of concentrated economic power, and a revival of investment in public goods.

We do not promise a new synthesis. But we do expect Rethinking Political Economy to help reorient public discussion away from market fundamentalism and toward an egalitarian, democratic sense of the common good.

Jonathan Kirshner

Why we should err on the side of inaction—and why we won’t.

Joseph Margulies

Well-meaning nonprofits don’t go far enough in the fight against gentrification. Residents themselves must be in charge, and neighborhood trusts point the way.

C. P. Chandrasekhar Jayati Ghosh

Financial globalization was supposed to spur development. Instead, it transfers money to the global North and exacerbates existing inequalities.

Samuel Miller McDonald

Beyond carbon emissions and safety, the debate must also confront how the choices we make now constrain the kind of world we can build in the future.

Andrew Elrod

Democrats don’t lose elections because of rising prices. They lose when they cut spending and raise interest rates, sacrificing other goals at the altar of price stability.

Arjun Jayadev J. W. Mason

With globalization under increasing scrutiny, national governments are poised to exert more power over markets.

Prabhat Patnaik

The neofascist assault on democracy is a last-ditch effort on the part of neoliberal capitalism to rescue itself from crisis. The only solution is a decisive retreat from globalized finance.

Caley Horan

Private insurance companies have long dominated the provision of social security in the United States, but resistance is growing.

Dawn_in_the_Anthropocene
Duncan Kelly

Can today’s crises inspire action at the scales required to think about planetary sustainability?

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Amy Kapczynski David Singh Grewal Jedediah Britton-Purdy

If we are to emerge from this era of crisis, we need legal thinking that operates on fundamentally different presumptions.

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