Law and the Wealth of Nations

Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy

Tamara Lothian

Columbia University Press

Law and the Wealth of Nations

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Pub Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780231174664

416 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£27.95

Pub Date: October 2017

ISBN: 9780231545839

416 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£27.95

Law and the Wealth of Nations

Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy

Tamara Lothian

Columbia University Press

Economic stagnation, financial crisis, and increasing inequality have provoked worldwide debate about the reshaping of the market economy. But few are willing to risk a reorientation of dominant ideas and a reform of entrenched structures. Right-wing populism has stepped into the void created by a failure to imagine structural alternatives. Tamara Lothian offers a deeper view showing the path to the reconstruction of the economy in the service of both growth and inclusion. She probes the institutional innovations that would reignite economic growth by democratizing the market. Progressives have traditionally focused only on the demand side of the economy, abandoning the supply side to conservatives. Law and the Wealth of Nations offers a progressive approach to the supply side of the economy and proposes innovation in our fundamental economic arrangements.

Lothian begins by exploring how finance can serve broad-based economic growth rather than serving only itself. She goes on to show how the reform of finance can lead into the democratization of the economy. How, she asks, can we ensure that the most advanced, knowledge-intensive practices of production spread throughout the economy rather than remaining in the hands of the entrepreneurial and technological elite? How can we anchor greater economic equality and empowerment in the way we organize the economy rather than just trying to diminish inequalities after the fact by progressive taxation and entitlements? How can we revise legal thought and economic theory to develop the intellectual equipment that these tasks require? Law and the Wealth of Nations will appeal to all who are searching for ways to think practically about change in our economic and political institutions.
Tamara Lothian’s fascinating, bold, and provocative analysis of finance and economic democracy will inspire a new generation of reformers and scholars. Lothian brilliantly combines the perspectives of a legal scholar, financial expert, experienced financier, social theorist, and progressive visionary to chart a new direction for the twenty-first century economy. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Columbia University
Law and the Wealth of Nations presents a way of thinking, a method, for putting finance in the service of economic innovation, and economic innovation in the service of a renewed democracy. For progressives who sense that redistribution is a necessary but insufficient component of sustainable reform and who wonder how to connect small, feasible changes to the thoroughgoing transformation of politics and the economy that is the order of the day, there is no more timely and welcome book. Charles Sabel, Columbia University
The question that motivates the book—how can finance serve production, innovation, and democracy, instead of acting as a constraint on them?—opens into a much larger discussion of the contemporary challenges faced by our economies and societies. This is a significant contribution to the central debates of our time, laying out a bold vision of finance and, more broadly, of an inclusive, democratic market economy. Dani Rodrik, Harvard University
Reviving our productive and political arrangements begins with reimagining our legal and financial arrangements. No one has thought with more care, imagination, or ground-level knowledge about how to make finance more useful and less harmful than Tamara Lothian. And no one has done more to show how reforming finance can initiate a democratizing reconstruction of the market economy. This book brings Tamara Lothian's visionary yet disciplined writing, long admired by specialists, to the broader audience to which it ultimately speaks. Robert C. Hockett, Cornell University
In this striking and innovative work, Tamara Lothian shows how a revised practice of legal and economic thought can provide us with the ideas we need to think beyond the narrow limits of contemporary politics and policy in dealing with financial crisis and economic stagnation. Her writing exemplifies what so much of contemporary discourse lacks: structural vision, informed by historical understanding, disciplined by technical knowledge, and open to the imagination of new ways to democratize the market and deepen democracy. She offers insight and inspires hope. Sanjay G. Reddy, The New School for Social Research
A Note Regarding the Circumstance in Which This Book Is Published
Introduction
1. The Past and Future of American Finance Seen Through the Lens of Crisis
2. The Past and Future of Financial Reform: From Regulation to Reorganization
3. The Democratized Market Economy
4. The Democratized Market Economy in Latin America (and Elsewhere): An Exercise in Institutional Thinking Within Law and Political Economy
5. Economic Progress and Structural Vision
Appendix. Crisis, Slump, Superstition, and Recovery: Thinking and Acting Beyond Vulgar Keynesianism (with Roberto Mangabeira Unger)
Notes
Index

About the Author

Tamara Lothian (1958-2016) wrote and taught widely in law and political economy after an early career in international finance. A companion volume, Finance and Democracy in America, is forthcoming from Columbia University Press.