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Weekly Roundup: October 7, 2022


At the Blog

On Monday, Beatrice Adler-Bolton and Artie Vierkant introduced a new symposium on the work of Marta Russell. The author of several groundbreaking but lesser-known works on disability and capitalism, Russell is one of the few theorists to approach the study of disability from an explicitly political economic perspective. As Adler-Bolton and Vierkant argue, her criticisms of the liberal disability rights movement, her analysis of the ADA, and her ‘money model of disablement’ all turned out to be extremely prescient: “Three decades after the passage of the ADA, little has been done to materially improve the lives of its intended beneficiaries. Disabled people tend to be poorer, sicker, and more likely to be incarcerated than the rest of the population. Most buildings are still inaccessible, accessible housing is nearly impossible to find, and disabled people are still less likely to graduate high school or attend college, more likely to be disciplined in school, more likely to be killed by the police, more likely to live in a congregant facility, more likely to be unhoused, and twice as likely to live in poverty than people without a disability. This is the result of policy choices, but it is treated as a fact of nature.”

On Tuesday, Karen Tani continued the symposium, arguing that Russell’s work charts an important research agenda for legal scholars interested in disability, anti-discrimination, political economy, the liberal model of rights, and much else. As she writes, “Running throughout Russell’s essays is a powerful thesis: in many respects, law works to enable profit-seeking, and disability, as a concept, is crucial to that work. Yes, disability has a life outside of law, and many cultural and social forces give it meaning, but as a legal category, it is tightly enmeshed with capitalism. Russell helps us see that mesh—how it was woven, where it is tightest, and, perhaps, where it has become frayed.”

And on Thursday, Rick Weinmeyer argued that, in the wake of decades of austerity and privatization, the peeing public is now almost entirely reliant on privately owned restrooms. Given the inequities and limitations of our public reliance on private toilets, he suggests that state courts should recognize a right to public toilets as part of the states’ plenary police powers to promote public health: “only a public legal right to bathroom access has the potential to shift power from the whims of private business and prioritize the biologic needs of people over profit.”

In LPE Land

A reminder to smash that registration button to join us on Oct. 12 for a (virtual) conversation between Sanjukta Paul and Tim Wu on Antimonopoly in a New Political Economy (moderated by the one and only Edward Ongweso, Jr).

The Journal of Law & Political Economy launched a special issue, in collaboration with the Economic Policy Institute: Not So Free to Contract: The Law, Philosophy, and Economics of Unequal Workplace Power. And mark your calendars: On Oct. 18, Brishen Rogers, Larry Mishel, Suresh Naidu, and Angela Harris will be holding a virtual conversation on the issue.

Over at Dissent, Aziz Rana reflects on how racial segregation continues to undermine the possibility of building a multiracial working-class majority.

In the LA Times, Sanjukta Paul makes the case for the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, which would allow journalistic enterprises to band together for the purpose of negotiating with the internet platforms for payment for the content they create.

The American Prospect shines a light on the noble work that Sabeel Rahman and others are doing to reform and repurpose OIRA. Does this justify Rahman’s leave from the LPE Blog? Doubtful.