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Special Project

Rethinking Political Economy

Rethinking Political Economy begins with a world in crisis—after forty years of market fundamentalism—and asks how we build a new one. We debate new ways to think about protecting the planet, the relationship of equality and democracy, the need for racially inclusive prosperity, the promise of industrial policy, the dangers of concentrated economic power, and a revival of investment in public goods. We are grateful for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for supporting this effort.

We are pleased to announce a new Boston Review series, Rethinking Political Economy. Picking up where Democracy’s Promise left off, this new effort begins with a world in crisis and asks how we build a new one.

The starting point is to reject market fundamentalism. The dominant framework of politics and policy for forty years, market fundamentalism is defined by a narrowly individualistic picture of society, an untenable separation of states and markets, a limited sense of political possibilities, and a lack of confidence in the capacity of democracy to address public problems. In the United States, its failures are manifest in environmental catastrophe, shameful income and wealth inequality, racial injustice, failing public health infrastructure, and populist degradation of democracy.

Rethinking Political Economy will provide space for advancing alternatives in theory, politics, and policy. We will debate new ways to think about protecting the planet, the relationship of equality and democracy, the need for racially inclusive prosperity, the promise of industrial policy, the dangers of concentrated economic power, and a revival of investment in public goods.

We do not promise a new synthesis. But we do expect Rethinking Political Economy to help reorient public discussion away from market fundamentalism and toward an egalitarian, democratic sense of the common good.

Celina Su

Cities must empower historically marginalized communities to shape how public funds are spent.

Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò

Racial redress should be modeled on the global anticolonial tradition of worldbuilding.

Ruth Berins Collier Jake Grumbach

The threat to American democracy springs, most fundamentally, from the social fragmentation wrought by a post-industrial economy.

Jonathan Kirshner

Why we should err on the side of inaction—and why we won’t.

Brian Callaci

Monopoly power has certainly harmed workers, but the solution should be a wholesale rethinking of economic policy—not an embrace of perfectly competitive markets.

Derecka Purnell Nia T. Evans

Derecka Purnell discusses her new book Becoming Abolitionists, how she came to join the movement against policing and prisons, and what a just world looks like.

Joseph Margulies

Well-meaning nonprofits don’t go far enough in the fight against gentrification. Residents themselves must be in charge, and neighborhood trusts point the way.

Madeline Lane-McKinley

Intrinsic to what we hate about work is that we can’t imagine life outside of it.

Dan Breznitz

To generate local, inclusive prosperity, cities must think beyond tech accelerators and science parks and instead embrace a wider range of innovation strategies.

C. P. Chandrasekhar Jayati Ghosh

Financial globalization was supposed to spur development. Instead it transfers money to the Global North and exacerbates existing inequalities.

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