Mediating Contestations of Private, Public and Property Rights in Corporate Capitalism

Oñati Socio-Legal Series. 2013;3(4):622-646


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Oñati Socio-Legal Series

ISSN: 2079-5971 (Online)

Publisher: Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law

Society/Institution: Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law

LCC Subject Category: Law: Law in general. Comparative and uniform law. Jurisprudence: Private international law. Conflict of laws: Social legislation

Country of publisher: Spain

Language of fulltext: Spanish, English, Basque, French, Portuguese

Full-text formats available: PDF



Sol Picciotto (Lancaster University, Prof. Emeritus)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 16 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

<p>The law and lawyers have played a key part in creating the concepts and institutional forms of corporate capitalism in the past century and a half. Legalization has been playing an equally central role especially in the recent decades in forming the institutions of the new global governance. What has been constructed is a corporatist economy, in which highly socialized systems of economic activity are managed in forms which allow and indeed facilitate private control and appropriation. Yet they are very different from those of the `market economy&rsquo; envisaged by classical liberal philosophy and political economy. Although the state and the economy appear as separate spheres, they are intricately interrelated in many ways, especially in the definition and allocation of property rights, and in extensive state support and interventions, which play a determining role in investment and profit rates. Working at the interface of the public and private in mediating social action and conflict, lawyers have played a key role in constructing corporatist capitalism, and are central to its governance and legitimation. This is also due to lawyers&rsquo; techniques and practices of formulating and interpreting concepts and norms which are inherently malleable and indeterminate, which provide the flexibility to manage the complex interactions of private and public. These techniques and the lawyers who deploy them have also been central both to the construction of the classical liberal system of interdependent states, and during the current period of its gradual fragmentation and the transition to networked regulation and global governance.</p> <hr /><p>La ley y los abogados han desempe&ntilde;ado un papel decisivo en la creaci&oacute;n de los conceptos y las formas institucionales del capitalismo corporativo en el &uacute;ltimo siglo y medio. La legalizaci&oacute;n ha estado desempe&ntilde;ando as&iacute; mismo un papel central, sobre todo en las &uacute;ltimas d&eacute;cadas, en la formaci&oacute;n de las instituciones de la nueva gobernaci&oacute;n global. Lo que se ha construido es una econom&iacute;a corporativista, en el que los sistemas altamente socializados de la actividad econ&oacute;mica se administran en formas que permiten, y de hecho facilitan, el control y la apropiaci&oacute;n privada. Sin embargo, son muy diferentes de los de la 'econom&iacute;a de mercado' previsto por la filosof&iacute;a liberal cl&aacute;sica y la econom&iacute;a pol&iacute;tica. Aunque el estado y la econom&iacute;a parezcan esferas separadas, est&aacute;n &iacute;ntimamente relacionadas entre s&iacute; en muchos aspectos, sobre todo en la definici&oacute;n y asignaci&oacute;n de los derechos de propiedad y de un amplio apoyo del Estado y de las intervenciones, las cuales juegan un papel determinante en la inversi&oacute;n y las tasas de ganancia. Al trabajar en la interfaz de los sectores p&uacute;blicos y en la mediaci&oacute;n de la acci&oacute;n social y el conflicto, los abogados han desempe&ntilde;ado un papel clave en la construcci&oacute;n del capitalismo corporativista, y son fundamentales para su gobernabilidad y legitimaci&oacute;n. Esto se debe a las t&eacute;cnicas y pr&aacute;cticas de los abogados en la formulaci&oacute;n e interpretaci&oacute;n de conceptos y normas que son inherentemente maleables e indeterminados, y que proporcionan la flexibilidad necesaria para gestionar las complejas interacciones de lo privado y lo p&uacute;blico. Estas t&eacute;cnicas y los abogados que los despliegan tambi&eacute;n han sido fundamentales en la construcci&oacute;n del sistema liberal cl&aacute;sico de los Estados interdependientes, as&iacute; como en el actual per&iacute;odo de su fragmentaci&oacute;n gradual y la transici&oacute;n a la interconectada regulaci&oacute;n y gobernaci&oacute;n global.