Porosity between Politics and the Economy addresses the relationships between politics and the economy in deeply original ways. It is motivated by a sense of urgency derived from both the failure of modern capitalism to fulfill its promise and the consequences of the environmental crisis.
Egidius Berns argues that the relations between politics and the economy are porous, and subsequently, he investigates the consequences of this porosity. By mapping out of a number of conceptual fault lines that constitute the weaknesses of post-industrial capitalist societies, Berns provides a fresh look at the current crisis of western capitalism and democracy.
Finally, the book offers a preliminary elucidation of a path to reform the relations between the economy and politics, by analyzing the web of conceptual connections that link them and inform any possible configuration between them. It finds a way into the future in a certain ethics of restraint and combativeness.
Egidius (Gido) Berns was former professor of social philosophy at the University of Tilburg and dean of the faculty of philosophy.
Frank Chouraqui is assistant professor of philosophy at Leiden University, Netherlands.
Chapter One: Political Economy
Chapter Two: The Economy
Chapter Three: The Wear and Tear of Reason
About the Editor and Author
This book is much more than a study on the relation between economics and politics. Porosity Between Politics and the Economy is a profound investigation into the very concepts of politics, economics, philosophy and ethics. In this book, that is as rich and dense as it is short, Egidius Berns redefines these concepts in a very original and profound way, offering us new historical and thematic insights into the ambiguous nature of economy and politics. They are porous in themselves and in their mutual relations. With the notion of ‘porosity’, Berns has found a way to make Derrida’s deconstructive way of thinking fruitful for an innovative understanding of economy, politics and ethics and their ambiguous relations. This is a must-read for every scholar and student who is interested in the interconnections between philosophy, politics, economy end ethics.
In this short but brilliant and insightful book, Egidius Berns delivers us an overarching view of the relations between economy and politics from Aristotle to present times, through Smith, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger and Derrida, ending in a neutralized state of their relations, where none of both types of rationality dominates the other. Economic rationality and philosophical reason acting through politics were in conflict for centuries to shape the rational and best order to live a good life in a just society, each of them claiming to be legitimate and efficient to this purpose. In his unorthodox thesis Berns convincingly demonstrates that in our globalized world neither politics nor the economy can alone conduct our lives and societies, because politics and economy are porous to each other. The time for a true political economy has come. Berns’s book is a model of how philosophers, taking economics seriously, can help to clarify the misunderstandings between two academic disciplines, and by doing so, add to our understanding of how the world works and how to live our human condition in the ontological porosity of our world.
Philosophers always bask in their celebration of politics pitted against economic powers. In his small but profound book, Berns brilliantly shows why there is no such thing as ‘pure economic rationality’, from which modernity should be saved. Thinking the economy – the provocative claim goes – means thinking porosities, and their paradoxical logics. By refreshing readings of authors such as Aristotle, Smith, Hegel or Derrida, Berns demonstrates why the polarity between oikonomia and chrematistikè, between finite management and infinite accumulation, remains the driving force in our globalized societies.