Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Political Economy and Law

Research Handbook on Political Economy and Law

Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series

Edited by Ugo Mattei and John D. Haskell

Events such as the global financial crisis have helped reveal that the drivers and contours of governance on a national and international level remain a mystery in many respects. Set in this context, this timely Research Handbook is the first to explicitly address the constitutive relationship between law and political economy. With scholarly contributions from diverse disciplinary and geographic backgrounds, this authoritative book covers, in three parts, topics surrounding money and markets, the relations of organization, and commodities, land and resources.

Chapter 1: Introduction

John D. Haskell and Ugo Mattei

Subjects: development studies, development studies, law and development, economics and finance, political economy, law - academic, law and development, public international law, politics and public policy, political economy


The crisis that began with the ‘housing bubble’ in 2007 continues to haunt global governance. Taxpayer bailouts of large banks and austerity measures have not ameliorated the dire economic situation for populations around the world, and often heightened and spread dangers previously associated with decolonized and non-industrialized regimes. The rate of profit and growth continues to lag, the once so popular mantras of ‘free markets’, ‘individual entrepreneurship’, and ‘privatization’ are increasingly treated with suspicion, and distrust of the private and public sector seems at an all-time high in contemporary memory. Rather than address these growing challenges, the majority of official responses remain embedded within the very same mainstream conceptual logic that led to the current situation; the underlying dynamics and goals that shape the organization of production unscathed. The imaginative and institutionalized resistance to alternative ideological experimentation in turn tends to not only stifle creativity and naturalize entrenched socio-economic agendas (eg, the co-option of movements concerning anti-capitalist democracy, the commons, deep ecology), but pushes critics into ever more desperate measures (eg, reactionary European and US populist movements, militant Islamic cadres) or cynical apathy and quiet despair. Even more troubling, while widespread reforms have been enacted with the purpose to mitigate the crisis, there is no consensus about what caused the conditions that allowed for the crisis in the first place, nor what policy directions would be best for the future. Consider the initial stages of the crisis itself.