I've just come across this recent piece
~ "Using the Crisis to Remake the Market" ~ by Roberto Mangabeira Unger
about whose work I've posted
pretty regularly. He starts as follows:
The financial crisis of 2008 provides an occasion to advance two projects of vast consequence. One project is to revise the post World War II settlement for the purpose of making international arrangements more hospitable to national divergence, experiment, and alternatives than they are today. The other project is to reshape some of the institutions that define market economies so that they can afford more opportunity to more people.
And he concludes this way:
Such initiatives would represent a small down payment on a large shift in the focus of ideological controversy. It is not enough to regulate the market economy. It is not enough to counterbalance inequalities generated in the market by resorting to compensatory redistribution through tax and transfer. It is necessary to change piece by piece and step by step, the institutions that relate finance to the real economy if we are to recover from the present crisis in a way that helps us avoid future crises. Other ideals, of inclusion and opportunity, will require us to enlarge the scope of this practice of institutional reconstruction. The crisis is a chance but it is also a crutch. The task of the imagination will be to do the work of crisis without crisis.
In between Unger notes that, among other things, the projects he identifies require that we recognize something
that I have pointed out here
before, namely that financial markets have little to do with providing capital to productive economic activity that might benefit large numbers of people and lots to do with rewarding risky speculation by a very few. So, our stock markets - as they are currently configured - hardly are necessary to the functioning of a market economy. They can be reformed and made more useful. That is the aim of experimenting with political-economic institutions   
. The question is whether an organized political constituency will emerge to push that agenda. Given the sheer mal-distribution of income, wealth and opportunity in the U.S. (to say nothing of other palces) such a constituency exists, but remains, in Dewey's words, "inchoate." What is needed is for it to recognize itself as a pubic and act as one.
Labels: experiments, political economy, Pragmatism, Roberto Unger, Rodrik