The members of the LESG will be interested in a new project that seems to be blossoming into a movement known by the name “Law and Political Economy” (LPE). Ideas that may count as a “manifesto” of the movement are available here.
Connections of LPE ideas with legacies taken up from Legal Realism and from CLS are highlighted in the post by K Sabeel Rahman, which is reblogged below. (The original post is available here).
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Law, Political Economy, and the Legal Realist Tradition Revisited
Editors Note: Paragraphs 7 and 10 of this post have been updated to more accurately reflect the legacy of CLS and its relevance for LPE today.
K. Sabeel Rahman —
As David, Amy, and Jed note in their opening post, the economic, social, political, and ecological crises of the current moment are helping fuel an exciting wave of legal scholarship. This emerging trend, the “law and political economy” (LPE) approach, interrogates the relationships between law, politics, and economics, exploring issues of power, inequality, democracy, and social change. As we explore what this approach might mean and what its implications might be, it is important to situate these inquiries in a larger history of legal scholarship and reform politics. This is not the first time that a similar moment of crisis has helped spur creative new thinking about the relationships between law, capitalism, and democracy—and it won’t be the last. In this post, I want to sketch a particular aspect of this trajectory: the long legacy of legal realism and its relationship to our current debates around law and political economy.
This legacy is important for two reasons. First, now, as then, we face a similar period of socioeconomic upheaval and political conflict, prompting us to rethink our legal structures. As a result, the substantive insights of legal realism remain valuable for an LPE approach today. Second, recalling the trajectory of legal realism and its successor intellectual movements is helpful in highlighting the kinds of tensions and questions that an LPE approach will have to continue to address.