Research Handbook on Political Economy and Law
Show Less

Research Handbook on Political Economy and Law

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.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 5: Neoliberalism, debt and discipline

Tayyab Mahmud


In the neoliberal reorganization of capitalism since the late 1970s, hegemony of finance capital displaced Keynesian welfare. This transformation entailed a roll-back of the welfare state, breaking the power of organized labor, precarization of labor markets, financialization of the economy, and exponential expansion of debt. In this ensemble, debt sustained aggregate demand, fueled liquidity to lubricate financialization, and facilitated assemblages of entrepreneurial subjects responsible for their own economic security. Public welfare was replaced by self-care, and working classes were obliged to fund their private welfare through private debt, while calibrating their conduct with demands of a precarious labor market. Under neoliberal financialization, debt was deployed as the primary instrument for the assemblage of self-caring subjects through ‘modes of subjectification … in which people are invited to recognize their moral obligations.’ The citizen was reconstituted as homo economicus, ‘an entrepreneur, an entrepreneur of himself,’ and one that is ‘eminently governable’ through the technologies of the self, motivated by the incentive structure of the market. The hidden hand of the market and the iron fist of the law worked in concert to forge governmentalities that sutured debt with discipline. This ensemble underscored that capitalism is not a de-politicized and de-subjectified market economy governed by ‘economic laws,’ but a set of politically contested social relations under the hegemony of capital. Capitalism is a relation of power where the state and the market remain intertwined.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.