Roberto Mangabeira Unger


Using the Crisis to Remake the Market (2008)

This short text was written in 2008 on behalf of the Brazilian government, in which I then held office as Minister of Strategic Affairs. It was intended as a discussion piece for one of the G20 meetings that were convened in the hope of developing a common response to the financial and economic crisis. Britain hosted the meeting; thus the link to a site of the British Treasury.

Free Trade Reimagined: The World Division of Labor and the Method of Economics (Book, 2007)

This book works out the economic implications, as well as the implications for economics, of the social theory developed in my Politics books and of the philosophical program advanced in “The Self Awakened.” It represents the counterpart in political economy to the arguments of “What Should Legal Analysis Become?” about law. I see it as one more move in a campaign to free social thought from its embrace of superstition and its subservience to fate.

The book takes as its point of departure a discussion of the doctrine of free trade on the basis of comparative advantage — the most characteristic teaching of economics. A substantive theme in the work is the way in which the activities we have learned how to repeat (and thus to express in formulas, embodied in machines) are best related to the activities we do not yet know how to repeat. Here is a form of the division of labor — in the workplace or in the world as a whole — contrasting to Adam Smith’s pin factory and to Henry Ford’s assembly line. A methodological theme is the development of a practice of economics supporting a more intimate bond among analysis, explanation, and proposal than the economics inaugurated by the marginalism of the late nineteenth century allows. (Princeton University Press)

The Really New Bretton Woods (Book Chapter, 1996)

An attempt to give practical content to the idea of international economic arrangements hospitable to a greater diversity of national development trajectories. From An Architecture for the New World Economy, edited by Marc Uzan (Routledge 1996).

Illusions of Necessity in the Economic Order (1978)

A polemical address to economists delivered almost thirty years ago. The policy problems of the late 1970s in the United States are long gone. What remains is the need to come to terms with economics as the most potent of the social sciences, and to distinguish its achievements from its equivocations.

Crisis, Slump, Superstition and Recovery: Thinking and Acting Beyond Vulgar Keynesianism (2011)