Intro to Law & Political Economy I
with Amy Kapczynski
We live in an age of rising inequality, deep racialized and gendered injustice, hollowed out democracy, and climate catastrophe. Is legal thought today adequate to these challenges – and if not, how must it change? Many come into law school eager to learn how the law can be deployed to serve the ends of justice – but end up learning instead why and how the law should advance efficiency, or how and why public law cannot interfere with deep structural inequalities. Why is law school – and especially the first year – so alienating? In this lecture, Professor Kapczynski will address these questions, and describe what she and co-authors have called the “Twentieth Century Synthesis” in legal thought. She’ll discuss why this conventional framework has such trouble addressing (and has conditioned) contemporary crises, and will describe the work being done by scholars to define new “law and political economy” frameworks. These aim to bring questions of power, equality, and democracy back to the center of our debates, in order to build a more genuinely equal democracy.
With commentary from Ganesh Sitaraman and K. Sabeel Rahman.
Materials referenced in the talk: