Framing Elite Consensus, Ideology and Theory & A Classcrits Response

33 Pages Posted: 16 May 2016

See all articles by Athena Mutua

Athena Mutua

University at Buffalo Law School

Date Written: November 10, 2015

Abstract

This short paper, really a thought piece, builds upon the examination begun in the Foreword of the ClassCrits VI Symposium which sought to outline a ClassCrits critique of neoclassical economic principles. It argues that neoliberal practices, theory and ideology, built on the scaffold of neoclassical economic ideas, frame an elite consensus that makes elites feel good but which are ethically, intellectually, and structurally problematic for the social well-being of most Americans. It does so, in part, by chronicling a number of recent practices of large corporations, including for example, the practice of inversion. Again, this paper takes as its specific target neoclassical economic theory and outlines in plain language a tentative ClassCrits response to it.

Part I of this paper discusses the relationship between neoliberalism and neoclassical economic theory, suggesting they present feel-good ideas for elites that potentially inform their consensus. Part II examines a number of business practices that make visible the current elite consensus. It does so by chronicling the recent behavior and practices of large corporations on issues such as regulation, taxes, wages, production, job creation, outsourcing and government largess. Part III summarizes, in stylized fashion, neoclassical economic theory on how the market works; a story which, I believe, under-girds neoliberal practice and much of the described behavior of business elites. This part then takes a stab at outlining, in plain language, a basic ClassCrits response to this story. Part IV tests some of these ideas against the changes in airline travel as recently chronicled in a popular New Yorker piece by Tim Wu, in an effort to stimulate critical thinking and challenges to these hegemonic economic ideas (and practices) by examining them through everyday experience.

Keywords: corporations, class, economic inequality, law and economics, neoclassical economics, neoliberalism, markets, finance, ClassCrits, wages, wage inequality, taxes, corporate taxes, Dodd-Frank, executive pay, JetBlue, income inequality, competition

Suggested Citation

Mutua, Athena, Framing Elite Consensus, Ideology and Theory & A Classcrits Response (November 10, 2015). Southwestern Law Review, Vol. 44 (2015) . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2780510

Athena Mutua (Contact Author)

University at Buffalo Law School ( email )

528 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States

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