CANCELLED: CES: The Habsburg Empire as a Model for the World Economy: Neoliberals and the Dream of Double Government


Wednesday, November 30, 2016, 4:00pm to 6:00pm


Adolphus Busch Hall, Hoffmann Room, 27 Kirkland St. Cambridge

New Directions in European History Study Group 

Associate Professor of History, Wellesley College

This talk presents the first part of a book-length argument that neoliberalism was an answer to a global question: how to organize the world after empire? It shows how the vanished Habsburg Empire became a lost object of identification for neoliberal intellectuals and why its dissolution set the frame for their understanding of decolonization in the twentieth century as a whole. At the core of the neoliberal Habsburg imaginary was the separation of economics and politics—and the realms of dominium and imperium--that allowed for what F. A. Hayek called “double government.” For Austrian neoliberals, the non-identity of political and economic units in the Habsburg Empire offered a model for world order beyond the nationality principle, a vision that neoliberals would seek in forms of supranational governance from the League of Nations to the UN, from the GATT to the WTO, and from a renewed Lex Mercatoria to the field of International Economic Law.