Politics, Volume 2: Comparative-Historical Studies on the Institutional Conditions of Economic and Military Success: A Work in Constructive Social Theory
Roberto Mangabeira Unger
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Volume 3 of Politics, a work in constructive social theory.
Plasticity into Power works out, through historical examples, a major theme of Unger's work – the relation between institutional and organizational flexibility and the development of our collective ability to produce or to destroy. The message of the book is that the practical success of a society depends on its capacity for permanent innovation. Certain practices and institutions – the history and content of which Unger explores – can nurture this capacity.
Unger pursues this topic through wide-ranging historical inquiries into the European escape from the recurring crises that foreclosed political and economic breakthroughs in the great empires of the past; the invention of revolutionary approaches to the governmental protection of wealth; and the social conditions of military success, viewed as sources of insight into the social foundations of economic growth. Throughout, Plasticity into Power exemplifies a conception of the relation between theory and history that remains faithful to the surprising, open-ended quality of lived experience.