Edited by Christopher May and Adam Winchester
Chapter 11: The rule of law and the rise of capitalism
This chapter considers the relationship between the rule of law and the rise of capitalism, tracing the development and insights of two prominent theoretical traditions. One tradition is rooted in the social theory of Max Weber and his work on legal rationality as a prerequisite for capitalist markets. This neo-Weberian tradition, the chapter argues, encompasses the modernization theories of Talcott Parsons and the Law and Development movement, as well as contemporary theories of ‘good governance’ now dominant in the major international financial institutions. The other tradition discussed in the chapter is associated with the work of Karl Marx and his insights on law and its roots in capitalist social relations. The chapter identifies two prominent strands within this tradition, one emphasizing class struggle in the shaping of a capitalist rule of law, and the other tracing the very legal form itself to the rise of capitalism.
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