Corporate Engagement in Politics and Governance
Edited by Christina Garsten and Adrienne Sörbom
Chapter 11: Reflections: leaving Flatland? Planar discourses and the search for the g-axis
The terrain of political life is traditionally mapped in two dimensions, government and markets. How do the actions of market actors affect presumptively democratic government, or how does government affect the market, a concern of law and economics? This map is old, going back to Hobbes, and has been useful over the centuries. But while it is not wrong, the map is two dimensional, flat – the liberal plane. In Flatland, Victorian author Edwin Abbott told the story of a square, living in a two-dimensional plane, who gradually becomes aware that life could be understood through fewer, or more, dimensions. By analogy, the social might be understood as a third dimension, orthogonal to the government and market that determine the plane of ordinary discourse in liberal societies. In this reflective chapter Westbrook discusses how we might, from within the liberal plane, conceive of the social, in order to imagine politics in three dimensions.
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