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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.

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Adam Przeworski

Leaders of the left abandoned the language of transformation in the 1980s—at a cost. Can it be regained?

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Mike Konczal

Labor activists once understood time to be a checking mechanism on market activity. In our own era of uncontrolled working hours, this is a vision of freedom worth recapturing.

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Alyssa Battistoni David G. Victor Edward J. Markey Joshua Cohen Robert C. Hockett Thea Riofrancos

A transcript of our panel discussion on the Green New Deal and our new book Climate Action.

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Simon Torracinta

Far from a marginal outsider, a new biography contends, Thorstein Veblen was the most important economic thinker of the Gilded Age.

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Charles Sabel David G. Victor

Biden should rejoin the Paris Agreement, but diplomacy isn’t enough. To decarbonize the economy, we must integrate bottom-up, local experimentation with top-down, global cooperation.

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Nicola Miller

The region has a long legacy of critical engagement with classical political economy, helping to change the way we think about markets and morals.

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Chiara Cordelli

Many reject privatization for its distributional consequences. The deeper problem is that it threatens the very foundation of political legitimacy.

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Justin H. Vassallo

A new history charts the global legacy of Fordist mass production, tracing its appeal to political formations on both the left and the right.

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Neil Fligstein Steven Vogel

The government—not the market—is the only viable solution to some of our greatest challenges.

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Martin Gelin

Only a few decades old, the corporate autocracy the former president unleashed on the United States is not natural law. It had to be created, and it can also be undone.

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