The preceding chapters developed and tested a micropolitical approach to economic matters through an exploration of opportunities for politics in the marketplace. The virtue of this approach, as compared with incomparably more popular macropolitical approaches, is that it brings the inner life of the ‘economic system’—the practices and concrete acts of work, consumption, production, and entrepreneurship-into sight. Macropolitical approaches have their virtues, too, which is why the approaches should, as I argued in Chapter 2 , be considered two different tools rather than antagonistic rivals, not least because they will usually be of different interest to scholars. Nevertheless, there is a lesson to be learnt from this study for scholars of politics more generally: the economic sphere should not be written off as a far-off enemy territory. The ‘othering’ of anything related to the economy-certainly one of the more tenacious discursive conventions in the discipline of political theoryis, without doubt, of great analytical value in virtue of its facilitating the clarification of concepts and disambiguation of ideal types, in virtue of its reducing complexity and producing manageable objects of study, and many things more. Yet this analytical value appears to be frequently mistaken for an invitation to essentialize the theoretically constructed difference between the economic and the political. Not everything that happens in the economic sphere is economics and nothing else (just as not everything that happens in the political sphere is politics and nothing else). Likewise, the economy is not just something that is and ought to be politically regulated. Instead, occurrences in the marketplace exhibit various aspects, economic, political, and still more, depending on what we scrutinize within them; given their overdetermined nature, they are also a part of the political forces that regulate society. Economic practices of work, consumption, production, and entrepreneurship, once scrutinized for their political potential, turn out to be much more similar to political practices such as voting, demonstrating, legislating, and running for office than is often suggested. This last chapter spells out this invitation to liberate political theory from its latent anti-economic bias by summarizing and systematizing general insights gained in this study and by
providing a tentative suggestion regarding the place that the politics of economic life does and should have in 21st-century democracies.