University of Bath

No Business of Yours: How the large corporation swallowed the future

IPR Public Lecture by world renowned political theorist and historian Professor Timothy Mitchell, the IPR’s new Global Chair.

15 Jan 20195.15pm
15 Jan 20197.00pm
Domination of corporations
Domination of corporations

The foundation of good government, political parties often claim, is to manage and improve the economy. That conception of politics is both surprisingly recent, and one that may not have long to live. Before the mid-twentieth century, no one defined democratic politics in terms of the growth of an object called “the economy.”

By the middle of the present century we may have little democracy left, given the threat of climate collapse, if we do not find a better way to define the purpose of political life. To format a different politics we must understand how politics first created “the economy” as its object. The answer lies in the rise of the large corporation, and the strange new relationship to the future that the modern business firm engineered.