By Roberto Mangabeira Unger

Unger offers certain content material to a revolutionary and functional substitute to neoliberalism and institutionally conservative social democracy in a technique that has drawn expanding realization during the global in addition to in his local Brazil.

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It must therefore also repudiate the contending programs for the renewal of the firm. Just as the managerial program of conservative industrial renovation has an ambiguous but revealing connection to the discourse of productive flexibility, so the conventional socialdemocratic response has a special relation to the social-corporatist practices adopted in one form by European countries such as Germany and Austria and in another by Japan. In this corporatist political economy, a way of relating the firm to labor and to capital remains loosely but powerfully connected with a practice of active dealing among national government, big business, and organized labor.

Two planks in the radical-democratic program result from each of these two guiding ideas: the multiplication of forms of access to productive resources and opportunities and the development of the capacities and the guarantees helping people respond to quickened economic innovation. In an early phase of its development, the program can work within the limits of inherited and established institutional arrangements. Later, it beyond the limits defined by these arrangements. The diversification of forms of access to productive resources and opportunities has three elements: a high and sustained level of both private and public savings; a more effective realization of the investment potential of private savings, so largely diverted by present arrangements into sterile gambling; and the organization of a new set of economic agents to invest, with entrepreneurial independence and financial responsibility, both public and private saving.

Practical reason is a dialectic between tasks and executions, between conceptions and experiments. Production becomes vanguardist as this experimental ideal comes to inform the practices of work. Specialization in knowledge and skill must remain fluid. It must become subordinate to the development of a pool of generic practical and conceptual capacities. Hierarchical control must be minimized: its disciplinary and proprietary aspects distinguished from the real requirements of coordination. Work routines must become provisional, and readily open to revision.

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