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uncle ebeneezer
07-19-2011, 11:53 PM
I know Mickey is afraid to debate Ezra Klein, on anything, but I would love to see him talk with Henry about neo-liberalism (http://crookedtimber.org/2011/07/19/20991/#more-20991). I doubt it will happen so I will instead hope that Henry comes to BHeads and chats with Yglesias or perhaps Josh Cohen or Mark Shmitt etc. I think this would be an interesting topic: the role that political theory plays in effecting political change.

stephanie
07-20-2011, 10:48 AM
I know Mickey is afraid to debate Ezra Klein, on anything, but I would love to see him talk with Henry about neo-liberalism (http://crookedtimber.org/2011/07/19/20991/#more-20991). I doubt it will happen so I will instead hope that Henry comes to BHeads and chats with Yglesias or perhaps Josh Cohen or Mark Shmitt etc. I think this would be an interesting topic: the role that political theory plays in effecting political change.

I'm definitely in favor of that idea.

ledocs
07-21-2011, 11:08 AM
Just something to think about. I got the sense, from reading Henry Farrell's post, that he may distinguish between "political theory" and a "theory of politics." The latter is a theory about how politics, meaning the vectors of power, are working at a particular time, in a particular place. The former is a theory about how the institutions of a particular society are structured, how that structure compares to other possible structures, and so forth. On this view, a "theory of politics" is more down-and-dirty than is a political theory, it is micropolitical theory, as opposed to macropolitical theory, something like that. On this reading of Farrell's post, he does not say anything about macropolitical theory. He seems to be saying that microtheory creates the conditions for the possibility of a new macropolitical theory, a new general theoretical structure, created by new institutional relations, that will in turn give rise to the new policy proposals not yet dreamed of by the neoliberals, who are locked into a micropolitical climate that makes really new thinking impossible.

To put this in simpler terms, the Left would need a large-scale movement to change hearts and minds over time, leading to less individualism and more communitarianism in America, in addition to perhaps reinvigorating the union movement. After enough elections, we get a different Supreme Court, perhaps one as radical as the present one, one that will overturn Buckley and all the other decisions that leave control of the electoral process in the hands of the rich. But this then leads to yet more communitarianism than is presupposed by the huge change already envisaged on the Supreme Court. Maybe we soften the edges of the logic of competition, something that has already been done by the Chicago School through antitrust policy, but for the benefit of monopolists and oligopolists rather than for the benefit of society as a whole.

On this "theory," the new Law and Economics policy proposals of the Left would be emerging in tandem with the new political realities on the ground -- it's the famous dialectic at work. Large-scale cooperative food delivery institutions develop, for example, to compete with or supplant the corporate and oligopolistic food delivery system that exists in America.

uncle ebeneezer
07-21-2011, 11:14 AM
Whoops, I meant "theory of politics". Thanks for catching that.