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Law and the Wealth of Nations

Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy


On June 8, 2016, Tamara Lothian died. She left at her death, among many other unpublished writings, the nearly finished manuscripts of two books dealing with finance and its reorganization in the context of broader ideas about democratizing the market economy and deepening democracy. The present work, Law and the Wealth of Nations: Finance, Prosperity, and Democracy, is to be followed by a shorter book, Finance and Democracy in America.

It fell to me to prepare for publication these two books by my friend and wife. As both texts were all but complete, my part in their preparation for the press has been slight. Only in few places have I felt the need to adjust the words on the page to the motivating thought, to add a missing reference, or to render more fully a compressed line of reasoning.

Tamara Lothian was born in Chicago on February 28, 1958. She studied economics and law. From the outset, however, her overriding interests were philosophical and political. Her thinking combined a visionary impulse with mastery of technical detail in the areas that she addressed. She believed that intellectual ambition, political hope, and spiritual ardor would come to little if they failed to reckon with the parts of social and economic life that have proved most resistant to criticism and reform.

After an early career in finance, in which she dealt mainly with emerging economies, she turned to teaching and writing and to the pursuit of her central concern: the constraints that established social and economic regimes impose on the development of our powers and the expression of our humanity. She came increasingly to bring this concern home to the study of her country, the United States. In the years preceding her death at the age of fifty-eight, she and I had begun to work out the argument and the early drafts of a work provisionally titled Growth, Crisis, and Inequality: Economics as Social Theory.

Roberto Mangabeira Unger
March 2017

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