The Governance of Economies and the Economics of Governance

In: Historical Materialism
Safi Shams University of Massachusetts-Amherst

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Nearly all fractions within the political, economic, and social spheres gave responses to the recent financial crisis. In broad terms, both left-leaning and right-leaning scholars and commentators presented their explanations for the crisis, with confident agendas defining ‘what is wrong’ and how to deal with it. However, as intellectual history shows us, most of those explanations were no less fascinating precisely because they shared more that they acknowledged. A major divide has been over the role of governments in coordinating markets, or, in the case of Roberts’s The Logic of Discipline, the role of markets in coordinating governments. In this essay, I offer an overview of Alasdair Roberts’s arguments in The Logic of Discipline. Gradually, I extend the examined issues beyond the state-market dichotomy, arguing that only in understanding the interactive force of the two can a systemic analysis of capitalism hope to be plausible.

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