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Philosophy of Management

Volume 11, Issue 1, 2012

Philosophical Lessons from the Global Financial Crisis

Robert Halsall
Pages 63-77
DOI: 10.5840/pom201211112

The End of ‘Cosmopolitan’ Capitalism? Reflections on Nations, Models and Brands in the Global Economic Crisis

This article reflects on the philosophical implications of the crisis for the nation-state and culture in relation to business and management. The global triumph of the neo-liberal economic model in the 1990s and early 2000s brought with it an ontological re-conception of the nation-state in its relationship to business, the market and regulation: the nation was viewed as a ‘brand-state’ analogous to a company. Much of the successful appeal of the ‘brand-state’ was based on its annexation of the Enlightenment discourse of ‘cosmopolitanism’: it appeared that a world consisting of interlinked economies represented a fulfilment of the Kantian utopian project of detachment and perpetual peace. The economic crisis has brought this discourse into question. The article assesses whether lessons learnt from the crisis contain prospects for a post-teleological re-conceptualisation of the nation-state beyond the ‘brand-state’ towards a ‘cosmopolitan solidarity’ in which nation-states co-operate to ameliorate its worst effects.

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