David Kennedy: “Through a Glass Darkly: Political Economy and the Great Disparities”

  • Manley O. Hudson Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School

Abstract: This chapter synthesizes world-systems theory (including dependency theory), racial capitalism, and other structural critiques under the term “critical systems” analysis. It uses this synthesis to thicken our conceptions of inequality and deepen our understanding of law’s role in a global political economy that sustains—through local contexts and histories—radically unequal distribution.  Calling for a robust diagnostic and foregrounding of existing legal arrangements that underlie these distributional outcomes, Kennedy cautions against law reform that is simply aimed at “purifying a conventional system.”

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Event series: Colloquia, Fall 2021 Colloquium