In a recent post, Carly Knight argues that resuscitating the vision of the corporation as a “creation of the state” is an important part of reclaiming the progressive argument for increased corporate accountability. In this response, Dan Rohde suggests that, rather than subscribe to one unified theory of “the corporation,” progressives would be better served by attending to the roles and purposes that the huge variety of legal entities play in our society, and determining their rights, protections, and powers accordingly.
The global energy price shocks of the past two years have made it painfully clear that energy cannot be treated as an ordinary commodity. They also offer an opportunity to rethink the push to liberalize energy markets over the past forty years, and particularly the use of markets for electricity provisioning.
Previously recognized as quasi-public institutions whose shareholders received corporate privileges in exchange for the fulfillment of public goods, corporations are today primarily understood to be private economic actors. This conceptual shift is in some ways quite puzzling. Despite the changing nature of the relationship between states and corporations throughout the 19th century, corporate business entities always, in practice, remained embedded in state and political institutions. How, then, did the image of the corporation as a “creature” or a “creation” of the state come to be replaced with an understanding of the corporation as a “pure creature of the market”?
Running through the fields of employment law, philosophy, political science, and economics is the pervasive assumption that employers and employees share equal power. A special issue of the Journal of Law and Political Economy elaborates the destructive role that this assumption plays in law and policy and provides new evidence challenging it.
Despite growing interest in public ownership at the municipal and even national level, LPE scholars have expressed relatively little interest in the topic. This is a mistake: proposals for public ownership can unite the left by achieving multiple policy goals at once and provide an alternative vision of what society should look like.
If one spends too much time around mainstream economists, one might be inclined to think the whole idea of a state enforcing norms of fair price is either redundant or perverse. But we know better than that.
To explain soaring energy prices, we must look beyond supply shortfalls and bottlenecks to the choices that governments have made about how to price energy.
If we are to correct the deep-rooted power imbalances within our economic institutions, we need to go to the source — the governance of corporations — and adopt more equitable arrangements. Luckily, there is a solution hiding in plain sight.
Workers should have enough representation on corporate boards to influence major decision making. Questions of institutional design should not stand in the way of this common sense reform.
Replacing the liberal subject with the vulnerable one, and the responsive state with the restrained one, exposes the ways in which current corporate jurisprudence is blind to the allocation of resilience in society. Introducing vulnerability theory to corporate law may therefore help to ensure that all stakeholders have equal access to the corporation’s resources and assets.
The history of rural electrification demonstrates why vital public utilities cannot be left to the machinations of the market. To achieve rural rural broadband, we must empower communities to connect themselves in the absence of private capital.
Increasingly progressives are championing “public options” as a response to various market failures. Public options in the all-important health care space stand in for old-school regulation of private providers and old-school redistribution (to better support those struggling to pay for private insurance and medical services). Public options in banking, likewise championed by leading progressives, work substantially…
Toward a theory of market and firm that rejects the Coasian frame altogether.
Anti-monopolists are right to worry about the concentrated power of institutional investors, but they are wrong to treat them as all bad. Common ownership presents an opportunity for the left to divide the interests of capitalists.
In a recently published article, we use the case of agricultural market liberalization in India to explore what we see as a counter-intuitive aspect of neoliberal governance: that paradoxically, states may desire particular kinds of markets – and hence market actors – to strengthen their political control.