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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.

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Justin H. Vassallo

A new history charts the global legacy of Fordist mass production, tracing its appeal to political formations on both the left and the right.

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Steven Vogel Neil Fligstein

The government—not the market—is the only viable solution to some of our greatest challenges.

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Martin Gelin

Only a few decades old, the corporate autocracy the former president unleashed on the United States is not natural law. It had to be created, and it can also be undone.

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Kevin P. Donovan

Working people are forever kept on the brink of going broke. More than higher wages and better job security, a just economy requires giving them the power to choose and create their own futures.

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Leah C. Stokes Matto Mildenberger

Carbon pricing has dominated conversations around climate policy for decades, but it is ineffective. Only a bold approach that centers politics can meet the problem at its scale.

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Noam Chomsky C. J. Polychroniou Robert Pollin

An interview with Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin on the climate crisis, COVID-19, and the future of environmental politics. 

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Macabe Keliher

While economists enshrine Hong Kong as the ideal free market, the social consequences of its neoliberal policies have been disastrous.

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Justin H. Vassallo

Without pressure from social movements, they won’t produce meaningful and deeply needed reform.

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Madison Condon

Huge investors like BlackRock are forcing corporations to take action on emissions. But what does their power mean for democracy?

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Sunaura Taylor

Nineteenth-century reformers understood the deep connections between public health and environmental protection. That's why struggles for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal are two sides of the same coin.

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