From the Annals of Greek Mythology

In light of the recent Deutsche Bank study claiming that Southern Europeans are ‘richer’ than their German counterparts due to higher levels of home ownership in the Mediterranean countries, it is necessary to highlight some important facts that have not adequately been discussed in the context of the Eurozone crisis. I compiled these statistics over … More From the Annals of Greek Mythology

From Shays’s Rebellion to Syntagma Square

Riot Police in Syntagma Square The Occupy Wall Street movement raised the issue of private debt in public discourse. Far from being merely an problem of individual profligacy or moral failing, it is a structural problem of neoliberal financialization. And far from being merely an ‘economic’ problem, it is clearly a political problem that is … More From Shays’s Rebellion to Syntagma Square

Capitalism, Liberalism and Democracy pt.II

In my first post, I presented a brief account of the historical tensions between liberalism and democracy, with particular attention on the levelling threat that democracy was thought to pose to elite forms of power – in particular, private property. I broke the narrative off at the end of a discussion regarding the English notion … More Capitalism, Liberalism and Democracy pt.II

The Invention of Market Freedom

Eric MacGilvray’s book, The Invention of Market Freedom (Cambridge University Press, 2011) presents a compelling and convincing narrative of the historical eclipse of the republican conception of freedom by the more familiar market conception of freedom in the context of the synthesis of liberal and republican thought in the late eighteenth century. The crux of the argument is that … More The Invention of Market Freedom

The Neo-Liberal State

While the fallout of the financial crisis of 2007-8 may have witnessed a general questioning of the feasibility—if not the desirability—of neo-liberal ideas, the resurgence of an ‘anti-state’ right-wing movement in the United States (that is, the Tea Party) and the implementation of historically unprecedented cuts to the public sector in the United Kingdom by … More The Neo-Liberal State

The American Road to Capitalism

Charles Post’s book, The American Road to Capitalism:  Studies in Class-Structure, Economic Development and Political Conflict, 1620-1877 (Leiden: Brill Publishers, 2011) is a collection of essays largely written between 1980 and 2011, with an additional chapter and conclusion specifically written for the volume.  The work presents an account of the development of capitalism in the United … More The American Road to Capitalism

The Imperial Paradox: Ideologies of Empire, by Ellen Meiksins Wood

Watch “Prof. Ellen Meiksins Wood: The Imperial Paradox: Ideologies of Empire, SOAS, University of London” on YouTube var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-40296388-1’]); _gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]); (function() { var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true; ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘.google-analytics.com/ga.js’; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); … More The Imperial Paradox: Ideologies of Empire, by Ellen Meiksins Wood

The Fiscal Crisis of the State Revisited

Forty years ago, James O’Connor published The Fiscal Crisis of the State. It was a timely intervention seeking to explain the collapse of the postwar consensus characterized by an extended period of economic growth, wage gains by workers and modest inflation. This period of economic growth (which today is often erroneously considered to be the … More The Fiscal Crisis of the State Revisited

CB Macpherson in India: the revival of possessive individualism

A few years ago I was thinking of C.B. Macpherson’s book, The Political theory of Possessive Individualism.  The fiftieth year anniversary was coming up in 2012, and I was thinking of the possibility of putting on a commemorative conference dealing with the legacy of the book. As it turns out, a number of post-graduates associated … More CB Macpherson in India: the revival of possessive individualism

Diggers, Levellers and Agrarian Capitalism: an excerpt

The development of agrarian capitalism therefore entails the reconfiguration of class relations in the English countryside. As we have seen, the development of agrarian capitalism gave rise to the differentiation of the peasantry out of which emerged a class of capitalist tenant-farmers and a class of semi-proletarianized cottagers, smallholders and property-less wage-laborers. Atop this class … More Diggers, Levellers and Agrarian Capitalism: an excerpt

Domination and Dependence: Republicanism and the Market

In a previous post, I discussed republicanism’s problematic obfuscation of class. The point I tried to make was that republicanism’s core concept – that liberty is a form of non-domination or independence from the will’s of others – attains its coherence only at a level of abstraction that obscures the class realities that comprise any … More Domination and Dependence: Republicanism and the Market

The Technocratic Tendencies of Contemporary Neo-liberalism

‘The Programme of Liberalism, if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property, that is, private ownership of the means of production. All the other demands of liberalism result from this fundamental demand.’ Ludwig Von Mises[1] The general contours of the neo-liberal conception of the state are now quite well known. Positing a … More The Technocratic Tendencies of Contemporary Neo-liberalism

Republicanism and the Obfuscation of Class

For a number of years now, I’ve been reading and writing about republicanism. Not the republicanism of the Republican party, but rather republican political thought. In particular, the neo-Roman republican tradition being researched so extensively by the intellectual historian Quentin Skinner and the political philosopher Philip Pettit. I can’t quite recall why or how I … More Republicanism and the Obfuscation of Class