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The business of inequality

January 4, 2016

Excerpt from an OUPblog article, published on 21st December, by Christian Olaf Christiansen, intellectual historian from Denmark. He is author of Progressive Business: An Intellectual History of the Role of Business in American Society, which is now available on Oxford Scholarship Online.

Progressive Business: An Intellectual History of the Role of Business in American Society

 "Recently, debates about inequality have risen to the forefront in academic and public debates. The publication of the French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century in 2013 did not, to say the least, go by unnoticed. And many other prominent economists have partaken in the debate about global inequality: Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz, and Angus Madison, just to name a few.

This spectacular inequality debate goes far beyond the writings of economists, however. Legal scholars have suggested looking much more closely at the kinds of laws which have been passed which have furthered inequality. They have pointed out that capitalism is not just an economic system, but also a legal and institutional construction. Efficient property rights, for example, are fundamental for the workings of a capitalist market economy. And therefore, from this perspective, the perpetuating and rising of inequality under present-day global capitalism has not just got to do with the ‘natural’-like economic laws of capitalism, but also its – actual – juridical laws."

Discover more: Read more in Christian's article 'The business of inequality'. The first chapter of Progressive Business is now freely available until the end of February. Get access to the full text of this book, as well as over 300 Business & Management titles from Oxford University Press, by recommending OSO to your librarian today.