[Forthcoming, 2016, Oxford University Press]
The modern economy poses a challenge to democratic ideals. Market forces and corporate power undermine the prospects for economic well-being, while seeming to exist beyond the capacities of ordinary citizens. Traditionally American politics has appealed to one of two approaches to governing the economy: a laissez-faire approach that relies on self-correcting markets, and a managerial approach that relies on neutral, insulated expert regulators. By contrast, this book argues for a more democratic approach to economic governance. First, the book identifies the moral challenge of the modern economy in terms of domination, whether in the concentrated private power of corporations or the diffuse system of the market itself. Second, the book argues that such domination must be counteracted by democratic politics, through the use of institutions and practices that empower citizens to mitigate these forms of power. Such democratic economic governance draws on a different tradition of American politics rooted in the thought and reform politics of Progressive Era thinkers like John Dewey and Louis Brandeis. Using the case of financial regulatory reform after the 2008 financial crisis, the book outlines how this focus on domination and democracy suggests a very different approach to economic regulation. The focus on domination implies economic regulations that attempt to limit the concentrated power of corporations like too-big-to-fail financial firms through structural constraints. The focus on democratic agency suggests a regulatory process that rather than prioritizing insulated expertise cultivates a more participatory and inclusive form of collective decision-making.
Chapter outline below the fold.