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LPE Originals

Private Insurance, Public Power: A Symposium

From the health care we receive to the services our cities provide, private insurers wield significant public power. Over the next few weeks, this symposium will examine the sweet actuarial science and its industries from a law and political economy perspective.

LPE Originals

Can Subsidies Discipline Capital?

The Biden Administration’s recent foray into industrial policy relies heavily on voluntary inducements to push firms to invest in renewable energy technology and domestic manufacturing. Some observers argue that this approach, commonly known as “derisking,” will yield paltry results: firms will pursue the same priorities they would have absent the legislation, just with a better financial return. Yet subsidies do not only alleviate risk; they also impose a new risk of falling behind competitors, and so mold the landscape of profitability into a disciplinary force itself.

LPE Originals

Climate Change and the Neoliberal Imagination

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.

LPE Originals

Damage Functions (Or Why I Am Mad at Economists)

Since the 1990s, mainstream economists have used past weather data to forecast the future costs of climate change. This mode of econometric prediction ignores the alarming tipping points and pervasive uncertainty that characterize our warming world.

LPE Originals

Renewable Power: Who Will Own the Clean Energy Future?

The IRA promises to pump billions of dollars into clean energy infrastructure, primarily though tax equity financing. This approach, despite its merits, all but guarantees that our clean energy future will be dominated by incumbent private actors, namely large financial institutions and private developers, who will capture the benefits of abundant low-cost renewable electricity.

LPE Originals

Offset Frontiers, Fossil Capitalism and the Law

The very idea of “offsetting” emissions requires the legal creation – and exploitation – of new sacrifice zones. Predictably, this approach has been a disaster for the environment. Less noticed, however, is the extent to which offsetting has warped the entire aim of environmental law.

LPE Originals

Tax Policy for a Climate in Crisis

How can a Law and Political Economy approach guide the power of taxation toward democracy, justice, and a livable planet? As a start, it can help us understand that tax policy involves not only the power to redistribute market earnings, but also the power to transform market governance.

LPE Originals

Early Edition: (Some of) the Best New LPE and LPE-Adjacent Scholarship

With the spring submission season nearly in the books, and our Twitter feeds abuzz with placement announcements, the LPE Blog highlights some of the most exciting forthcoming LPE and LPE-adjacent articles. Covering tech, care, labor, criminal justice, religious freedom, money and banking, property, the administrative state, and so much more, this scouting report is not to be missed.

LPE Originals

Rural Civil Disobedience and Fossil Capital: Toward Radical Futures

Civil disobedience has long been a core dimension in the struggles against the ravages of the coal, oil, and natural gas industries in the rural United States. While Indigenous-led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline is the most prominent recent example, the past decade has witnessed acts of civil disobedience in such far-flung locations as the Montana coalfields, the Keystone XL Pipeline in Texas, and pipelines in Minnesota and Louisiana. How should we make sense of these actions? And what can these acts of rural resistance teach us about our understanding of civil disobedience?

LPE Originals

The Carceral Conjuncture in Central Appalachia

As a result of jail and prison expansion in Eastern Kentucky, the region has become a center of gravity in the fight over the future of the carceral state. To understand this carceral boom, we need to appreciate how multiple crises have converged in Eastern Kentucky to produce a historical moment – a conjuncture – in which prisons and jails serve as putative solutions to a variety of social and economic problems.

LPE Originals

Development for Some, Disaster for Others: The Case for Reparations

Central to Táíwò’s case for reparations is the idea of inertia. This is a useful message for economists, particularly of the mainstream bent, to hear. Without significant changes in the social provisioning processes, wealth and advantage, along with poverty and disadvantage, will continue to accumulate. No marginal change in a tax code or behavioral nudge will induce the radical change that is necessary for those accumulations to reverse course. Instead, we must be guided by a “worldmaking” philosophy, one that seeks to build a just world on a global scale.