Historicizing Consumer Protection

Historicizing Consumer Protection

Learned Hand once described the task of the Federal Trade Commission as “discover[ing] and mak[ing] explicit those unexpressed standards of fair dealing which the conscience of the community may progressively develop.” In a previous post, I argued that moving consumer protection law beyond consumer sovereignty requires recovering this way of thinking, common among Progressives and…

Is Labor’s Future in Labor’s Capital? A Debate

Is Labor’s Future in Labor’s Capital? A Debate

This is Part I of a conversation between David H. Webber and Michael McCarthy on the prospect of combating neoliberal corporate governance through the shareholder activities of workers’ pension funds. Workers’ retirement savings make up a substantial share of the capital invested in the public stock market and the private equity market. If shareholder primacy…

Restorative Justice and Moral Neoliberalism

Restorative Justice and Moral Neoliberalism

Today, groups of left organizers who wish to abolish the current penal system are practicing community mediation. They facilitate dialogic processes where people who have caused harm engage in active listening, relationship-building, and intensive forms of emotional, spiritual, and material reparations. These processes, variously called restorative justice or more often transformative justice and community-based accountability,…

Purdy on Economic Power in NYT and TNR

Purdy on Economic Power in NYT and TNR

This week, I published two pieces about economic power. One, an op-ed in the New York Times, distilled some major themes from the Supreme Court’s neoliberal jurisprudence: allowing private power to colonize public law (arbitration), using constitutional rights to protect economic power (First Amendment restrictions on union dues and campaign finance), and deploying federalism doctrine…

The dark side of the ‘data-driven’

The dark side of the ‘data-driven’

In her fascinating new book Automating Inequality, Virginia Eubanks recounts that the first “big data” set in the United States “was the Eugenics Records Office in Cold Spring Harbor. It was the public arm of the eugenics movement.” While the systematic collection of data has underpinned many important initiatives, it also has a dark side.…

The Crisis of Progressive Neoliberalism

The Crisis of Progressive Neoliberalism

How should we understand the crisis of the current moment? Is the election of President Trump a temporary aberration or does it reflect deeper political trends—both in the United States and elsewhere? In a recently published essay in American Affairs, I argue that the defining features of Trump’s agenda did not come out of nowhere. What…

Law & Neoliberalism

Law & Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is an indispensable term for making sense of the legal, political, and ideological conflicts of the moment, and also one of the most maligned. Liberals who feel criticized by it have insisted so often and so loudly on its uselessness that even those on the left who use it often seem compelled to apologize…

Why Law and Political Economy?

Why Law and Political Economy?

Why focus on what we call law and political economy, and why now? In the last decade, inequality has become impossible to ignore. The 2008 financial crisis and the foreclosures and dislocation that followed it shook public and (to a limited extent) elite confidence that financial markets would “police” themselves and work for everyone. The…