Coalminers and Coordination Rights

Coalminers and Coordination Rights

In the two decades before the Hepburn Act’s enactment, two entities vied for the right to coordinate the price and distribution of coal. The first—a group known as the Joint Conference of Miners and Operators of the Central Competitive Field—was the child of the United Mine Workers.The second—a group of coal-hauling railroads known as the Seaboard Coal Association—was the child of J. P. Morgan and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Understanding their struggle for power (and why capitalists rather than workers won), can help us better understand the stakes of antitrust.

School Segregation, Social Closure, and the Anti-Monopoly Analogy

School Segregation, Social Closure, and the Anti-Monopoly Analogy

In my new article, Monopolizing Whiteness, I examine the causes and consequences of “white island districts,” i.e. those that enroll predominantly white and affluent student bodies, despite being in racially and economically diverse metropolitan areas. I theorize that white student segregation in districts like GPSD is a product of (what sociologists refer to as) social closure— a process of subordination whereby an in-group works to curtail an out-group from accessing resources constructed as scarce. I suggest that the “essential facilities” framework of antitrust law can help to illustrate what a legal framework looks like that could appropriately recognize and address the process and harms of social closure.

What Makes the Republic Neoliberal?

What Makes the Republic Neoliberal?

This post is part of our symposium on The Neoliberal Republic by Antoine Vauchez and Pierre France. Read all posts here. Like many other new shiny things, it ended with disappointment.  Emmanuel Macron’s victory in 2017 was hailed as the advent of ‘le nouveau monde’ vis-à-vis the old political elites—a glimmer of hope in the…

Where is the Political Economy?

Where is the Political Economy?

Embracing the terms “economy” and “political economy,” as LPE has done, risks – unless we are careful – invoking just the kind of separate, reified realm that we are trying to critique. In our view, defining “the economy,” and studying how legal institutions have done so, should be central issues that LPE scholarship aims to address.

An Algorithmic Bon Marché? Platform Governance in Urban Spaces

An Algorithmic Bon Marché? Platform Governance in Urban Spaces

The last few decades have been characterized by the return of market fundamentalism: the belief that society can and should be organized through the institutional mechanism of “self-regulating markets.” Many expected that the 2008 financial crisis might constitute a blow to pervasive market expansion and a check on global dominance of private corporations. Not so.…

Democracy against Proceduralism

Democracy against Proceduralism

If political morality is to inform our analysis of legal institutions, it must account for the way that these institutions construct coalitions and endow them unequally with power. Theories that focus on fairness or political equality do not sufficiently account for these dynamic and iterative aspects of institutions. What is needed is a democratic morality of empowering the disempowered.