In the face of increasing inequality, legal regimes in the Global North have started to grapple with the distributive consequences of corporate law. They would do well to look to the Global South, where several jurisdictions have pioneered heterodox approaches to corporate law that take into account a broad range of public policy and distributional objectives.
Earlier this month, Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty of seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. His conviction should not, however, be seen as any kind of victory. For the past three years, SBF successfully exploited a financial regulatory system stuck in older ways of thinking and increasingly incapable of averting illicit finance in the platform economy. To prevent such predation in the future, LPE scholars must help accelerate the turn to proactive planning, including via the day-to-day, direct supervision of major financial institutions.
Institutional leaders must affirm that advocacy for Palestinian rights, as well as concern for and celebration of Palestinian lives, is squarely within the sphere of legitimate discourse.
Recent efforts to suppress the expression of the most basic aspirations for Palestinian freedom offend not only civil libertarian commitments to free speech and related ideas of academic freedom, but, perhaps more surprisingly, civil rights commitments to nondiscrimination.
In late October, Florida banned chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine from operating on state university campuses. This ban, which alleges that the national organization provided material support to designated terrorist organizations, is unlikely to survive judicial scrutiny. Nevertheless, it represents a dangerous escalation of recent efforts to restrict the speech of pro-Palestine advocates, while providing a blueprint for the future repression of other disfavored groups.
Though dominant features of the American economy for most of the 20th century, corporations have become less numerous in the past three decades. Meanwhile, neglected alternatives to the public corporation have proven surprisingly durable. Given the manifest pathologies of shareholder capitalism, the combination of these two trends may suggest pathways out of our current dilemma.
Algorithmic wage discrimination – paying workers personalized wages using opaque and fluctuating formulas – is common in the gig economy. But with the recent development of intrusive new forms of employee surveillance, such wage-setting practices will be coming soon to a workplace near you. This post offers a brief taxonomy of five different forms of algorithmic wage differentiation, each of which is already visible in the gig work economy, and explains how the spread of these management techniques threatens workers’ well-being and political freedom.
In Paul Gowder’s recent blog post, as well as in his new book, he argues that we should democratize, rather than dismantle or restructure, Big Tech platforms. However, this familiar framing obscures more than it reveals, relying upon an impoverished account of the political economy of technology, of the co-evolution of politics and production, and of the core role of material infrastructure in digital settings.
Once the near-exclusive prerogative of the United States, unilateral economic sanctions are increasingly a multipolar phenomenon. As Aslı Bâli has recently argued, this current conjuncture may offer a new window to resist forms of economic coercion that legitimate and enforce an unjust neocolonial global order. At the same time, however, there are new dangers inherent in the transformation of sanctions and related coercive practices into tools of open hegemonic contestation.
Neoliberal welfare economics has constrained our moral and political imagination and, in so doing, limited our ability to realistically advance climate justice. This can be seen by considering two policy proposals that appear to fit comfortably within the standard climate economic paradigm, but that offer a wider scope of possibility than conventionally allowed.
Efficiency is a slippery term, and legal scholars frequently shift between distinct and even incompatible meanings as is convenient. This lack of clarity can inhibit students from challenging certain claims. To ask “but what do you mean by ‘efficiency’?” can make one appear unsophisticated or pedantic. But that’s precisely the question we should be asking. Because there are good reasons to reject the notions of “efficiency” usually taught in 1L classes, even if — in fact, precisely because — we have good reason to value other forms of efficiency.
There is, at present, a conceptual mismatch between the strategies of accumulation that are dominant in the digital economy and the basic assumptions that underlie the legal regimes tasked with regulating accumulation. To begin to address this discrepancy, legal actors in these regimes need a better understanding of how companies translate social data into profits and power.
Stephen Breyer called it more valuable than circuit court precedents and Supreme Court Justices. Yet the Areeda-Hovenkamp treatise on antitrust law adopts misleading legal interpretations that systematically favor corporate power in at least two key areas: thresholds for exclusive-dealing foreclosure and the efficiencies defense for mergers. Time for a reappraisal of an antitrust staple.
Sam Moyn has recently challenged what he sees as the “theoretical quietism” of LPE. Yet this resistance to high-altitude legal and social theory is entirely justified. The most productive theorizing, which involves contesting and clarifying the mid-level legal and economic concepts that have the most effect in the world, will occur a step below these abstract heights. It is here that LPE scholars should continue to focus their attention.
Private equity firms, cloaked under protective securities laws, have increasingly acquired companies that provide goods and services in U.S. jails and prisons. But it is the legal construction of prisoners’ rights that has enabled this market to take the particular form that it has, turning community ties into steady payment streams. In particular, Eighth Amendment jurisprudence, which has affirmed the constitutionality of pay-to-stay fees, has transformed the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment into a (subordinating) right to credit.