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Occupy the System! Societal Constitutionalism and Transnational Corporate Accounting


  • Moritz Renner

    () (University of Bremen - Faculty of Law & ZenTra)


Today's most pressing constitutional question is posed by a global economic system whose expansive tendencies seem no longer controllable. The current financial/debt crisis has triggered diverse reactions in the political arena ranging from the reformist ordo-liberal approach followed by France and Germany in the context of Eurozone negotiations to the anarchist ideas of the Occupy Now movement. As different as these reactions may be, they can be clearly situated in an ideological coordinate system which has basically remained unchanged since the 1920ies. In the past century, two lines of thought have determined our conceptions of political economy: The German debate of the Weimar republic has labelled these lines of thought as Economic Democracy (Wirtschaftsdemokratie), on the one hand, and Economic Constitutionalism (Wirtschaftsverfassung), on the other. The Societal Constitutionalism approach apparently shifts the established ideological coordinates by developing a theory of self-constitutionalizating of social spheres. It seeks to combine the virtues of grassroots democracy with the sophistication of systemic social theory. Thus, its normative claim can be formulated as an oxymoron: 'Occupy the System!' The claim is an oxymoron, because it points to the apparent impossibility of critical social theory in a functionally differentiated society: How can a functional system such as the economy be 'occupied' or 'democratized'? In my contribution, I try to find the grain of truth this oxymoron contains. With a view to the concrete example of transnational standard-setting procedures in the field of corporate accounting, I examine institutional and systemic processes which enable an emerging political discourse at the core of the global economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Moritz Renner, 2012. "Occupy the System! Societal Constitutionalism and Transnational Corporate Accounting," ZenTra Working Papers in Transnational Studies 08 / 2012, ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies, revised Nov 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:zen:wpaper:08

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    More about this item


    Corporate accounting; financial reporting; IFRS; transnational law; transnational corporations; societal constitutionalism; economic constitutionalism; economic democracy;

    JEL classification:

    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • P10 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - General
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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