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Weekly Roundup: September 30, 2022


At the blog

On Monday, Ruth Dukes & Wolfgang Streeck discussed the need to study labour law within the context of a theory of capitalist political economy. As they write, “Alignment with political economy helps labour law rediscover its particular nature: its twofold role as a contracting regime between individual buyers and sellers of labour power, on the one hand, and as a core element of the institutional endowment of capitalist, that is, of specifically class-conflictual modern societies, on the other. Seen this way, labour law appears as decidedly more than a handbook for contract adjudication by legally trained experts applying complex conceptual techniques to derive specific rulings from general principles.”

On Tuesday, Sydney Forde explained how familiar notions of journalistic “objectivity” stifle the democratic function of the press. Forde traces the origins of “unbiased reporting” to the rise of advertising-based models of journalism, and argues that recent calls for reporters to refrain from “taking sides” in political issues should be understood not as a way to produce reliable journalism but rather as a means for news organizations to maximize dwindling profits.

And on Thursday, William Novak responded to the excellent symposium held on his new book, New Democracy: The Creation of the Modern American State, over at Notice & Comment, the fine blog of the Yale Journal on Regulation.

In LPE Land

On Oct. 12, join us for a (virtual) conversation between Sanjukta Paul and Tim Wu on Antimonopoly in a New Political Economy. These two leading thinkers of antitrust will discuss where their views converge and diverge on how to make the most of this critical juncture.

Literally everyone is talking about the upcoming conversation between Sara Nelson and Amy Kapczynski on October 17. Livestream details to follow! And, the following day, we will be holding a panel on the future of worker power with Sara, Lorena Lopez (UNITE HERE Local 11), Eric Blanc (Rutgers University), Charles Du (SEIU 32BJ), and Gabriel Winant (University of Chicago). It’s a hybrid event, so register now!

Over at the Dig, Laura Weinrib discussed her book The Taming of Free Speech. She explains how the ACLU, founded as a radical labor organization, went from defending free speech as a means to revolutionary ends to exalting free speech as an end unto itself—including the anti-union speech of bosses and the political speech of corporations.

Two excellent pieces this week on the shortcomings of Biden’s current industrial policy. In the American Prospect, Lee Harris explains that, as Democrats rush to invest in new clean-energy companies, they are failing to ensure that green jobs are good union jobs; And in the Boston Review, Lenore Palladino argues that the promise of recent public funding for investment and innovation could be undone unless Congress and the Administration make sure that the corporations that receive this funding do not remain embedded in the existing orientation toward shareholder primacy.