LPE Originals

Countering the Neoliberal Structural Constitution

This post is part of our symposium on socialist constitutionalism. The Federalist Society leverages right-wing legal change by promoting constitutional originalism as a seemingly noble and neutral foundation for neoliberal political economy.  Without a comparably accessible and compelling contrary first principle, left and centrist law and politics can appear to be a diffuse agenda of contested…

close-up of pyramid on dollar
LPE Originals

Reclaiming Public Fiscal Power for Transforming Precarity

NB: This post is part of the “Piercing the Monetary Veil” symposium. Other contributions can be found here. Basic legal ideas about taxation stand in the way of proposals for ambitious fiscal policies to address pervasive economic insecurity among both middle class and lower income households. The conventional legal framework posits two primary functions for…

LPE Originals

Against the Economic Pie: How “Redistribution” Limits Political Economic Analysis

What gets lost when we describe social or environmental justice as redistribution?   This retrenches a fundamental binary—maximization versus distribution—in which maximizing logically comes first. By initially producing a bigger “economic pie,” law will be able to provide more generous slices to those who currently receive too little. The term “re-distribution” makes explicit the hierarchical, temporal…

LPE Originals

Against the Economic Pie: How Economic “Maximizing” Skews Legal Analysis

Should law maximize or divide the “economic pie”? Law students learn that smart thinking begins by asking this question. But this question skews legal analysis against a political economy perspective. It implicitly presumes a hierarchy where an abstract idea of economic gain normally stands above and beyond political and moral concerns, bigger in size and…

LPE Originals

Toward a Law and Political Economy of Gender Violence

What does political economy have to do with the issue of gender violence that roiled Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation?  One answer is that law should not separate economics from the social inequalities that mediate power.  Violent enforcement of social hierarchies has long been a core capitalist strategy for securing selective economic advantage, as Angela Harris…

LPE Originals

Economic Human Rights, Not Tough Policy Tradeoffs

According to conventional law and economics wisdom, problems of economic inequality are best solved with targeted redistributive spending, not universal human economic rights. A political economy perspective suggests the opposite: that legal rights are crucial for economic justice. Orthodox law and economics tellsus: all rights have a cost.  Law allocates economic gain, but cannot generate…