In 1944, the International Labour Organization laid out its “Declaration of Philadelphia,” a full-fledged social bill of rights in the same spirit as FDR’s State of the Union address of the same year. The welfarist spirit was then at its apex-but Supiot argues that with neoliberalism still rampant, even following the economic crash, the Declaration remains an important baseline. Then as now, social ties had been compromised in favor of market values; now, as then, the law must be reorganized to uphold social values and the spirit of solidarity.
Short, punchy and often rousing, The Spirit of Philadelphia describes the worldwide triumph of neoliberalism as once-communist elites turn towards market dogma and the privatization of welfare states. Arguing against the return to social Darwinism, and the bureaucratic embrace of numbers and statistics as ends, Supiot champions the social democratic spirit, hoping for its revival in the wake of the recent crash.
Alain Supiot is the Director of the Nantes Institute for Advanced study and Professor of Law at the University of Nantes, France.
His previous books include Beyond Employment: Changes in Work, The Future of Labour Law in Europe and, from Verso, Homo Juridicus.