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today I post a short abstract of the kind of stuff that I will discuss at a conference at the European University Institute in Florence on November 7. If someone of my readers find this stuff of any interest I will post more on the "modest proposal" fore European democratization.  I will dwell on this only if I find the request on the Plunder Blog which increases in readers, but VERY SILENT readers!  


Toward a European Social Alternative to Corporate Disaster-Capitalism.

A Modest Proposal for the Sake of Constitutional Legitimacy.


Ugo Mattei


My talk will discuss the role and possibilities of the European institutional scenario in the aftermath of the corporate-capitalist fiasco. Will blame the disaster on shortcomings of the very legal system and question the strategy of blaming “regulatory” shortcomings or “corporate greed” all seen as strategies of exception.

I will then advance a proposal for an urgent of institutional solution to the current problem of corporate hijacking of the European normative system.



Ugo Mattei-Laura Nader, Plunder. When the Rule of Law is Illegal, Wiley Blackwell 2008

Robert B. Reich, Supercapitalism. The Transformation of Business Democracy and Everyday Life, Nw York, Vintage Books, 2007

Laura Pennacchi, la Moralita’ del Welfare, Contro il Neoliberismo populista, Donzelli 2008

Robert J. Shiller, The Subprime Solution. How Today’s Global Financial Crisis happened and What to do About It, Princeton UP 2008.


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The Story of Deviant Behavior

Usually, economists understand and explain reality in terms of event regularities, which they translate into models: this approach has not been particularly successful either in anticipating or explaining the current catastrophe. The problem is that contents and theories of mainstream economics do vary over time, while their mode of explanation is constant. Let's ask ourselves: What ontology is implied by event-regular systems, and how closely does this match the ontology of social systems and human beings’ multifarious behavior and motivations in different times and places? It seems that much of what economics needs to explain is incompatible with its implicit ontology, based on the constant appearance of universal fictions that are supposed to correspond to events in the real world. Yet, these fictitious forces do not match any of the different realities of this real world. Fiction is so dominant in the present world that the virtual size of financial markets today is some 20 times the size of the real economy, while universal fictions do not even appear to be able to anticipate the dynamics of the new virtual phenomenon. So, until yesterday it was fashionable to neglect the study of the real world and focus instead on the creation of models of the real world. Ugo Mattei’s call is to a return to the understanding of the real world – in this specific case to a comprehension of the realities of European institutions and actors as opposed to their representation in models which has allowed the creation of the fiction of deviant behavior (e.g.: “corporate greed”) as the primary cause of the present disaster.


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Neoliberalism' s Exceptions

I think that would be really challenging to think, in the path of the work of Aihwa Ong, of neoliberalism as a governmental technology structured by its exceptions (and also, obviously, as all governmental rationalities, as a locus where exceptions to it are also deployed!)...

I'm wondering if the work of Ugo Mattei can rejoin this line of analysis, precisely when the 'fall' of neoliberalism can be read as either the end or the construction of a new discourse (that one of the 'institutional exceptions', it's a vivid example)... to think in term of governmentality and to think in term of institutional discourse, I think, it' a good way, if not to solve, at least to grasp the kernel of the crisis. 

P.S.: Not to exceed in foucauldianism, but to prevent criticism: to speak of 'discourse' means obviously to refer to material practices!

Michele Spanò