We are in a period when US legal thought is again opening up to renewed and sustained critiques of capitalism. This article situates this renaissance within both a longer history of political thought and the current political context in the United States. Drawing upon the observations of Alexis de Tocqueville, who argued that the rise of industry could lay the groundwork for a return to aristocracy, the article also considers how US jurisprudence since the early 1970s has proved Tocqueville somewhat prophetic. Today, we confront the accelerating rise of political wealth alongside the fall of the working classes into neofeudal labor practices—trajectories embedded in and abetted by decisions of the US Supreme Court.
New Aristocracy: Political Wealth, Neofeudal Labor, and American Law
Jack Jackson is associate professor of politics at Whitman College. He is the author of Law Without Future: Anti-Constitutional Politics and the American Right (2019) and coeditor of Feminist and Queer Legal Theory: Intimate Encounters, Uncomfortable Conversations (2009). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack Jackson; New Aristocracy: Political Wealth, Neofeudal Labor, and American Law. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 April 2022; 121 (2): 321–337. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-9663632
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