Capitalism’s Near Complete Reliance on Public Powers

What are the political conditions of possibility for capitalism?
Public power establishes and enforces it’s constitutive norms.
Framework underpinning private enterprise and market exchange:
Property rights
Enforcement of contracts
Adjudicate disputes
Put down rebellions
Full faith and credit if money supply

“Legal system establishes contours of seemingly depoliticized arenas where ‘private’ actors pursue interests free from overt political interference from government on the one hand and patronage obligations derived from kinship obligations on the other.”


“Major structural division that is constitutive of a capitalist society is “separation” of politics from economics; replaced by ‘invisible hands’ of the free market for resource allocation decisions.   This was a profound break-up of previous social world. Reliant now on widespread belief in homo economicus – the innate propensity of people to ‘truck, trade, and barter for individual gain.”

Nancy Fraser NLR #86 March/April 2014 
“BEHIND MARX’S HIDDEN ABODE: For an Expanded Conception of Capitalism”

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