Abstract: As neoliberalism is sinking into disrepute, states are responding to current crises by inroads on basic rights. This constellation adds urgency to the timeworn subject of statehood and its relationship to law and liberty. The paper addresses this subject by enhancing the neoliberal concept of an encased economy with James Coleman’s concept of law as indicator of social change and Niklas Luhmann’s functional differentiation. The resulting multifunctional liberalism associates liberties and rights with the autonomy of function systems—such as politics, economy, or law—and envisions an ecosystem of multifunctional organizations able to navigate the full spectrum of functional differentiation.
Keywords: Neoliberalism, law, economy, functional differentiation, social systems theory.
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Recommended citation: Roth S. and Valentinov V. (2022), Toward a theory of multifunctional liberalism: Systems-theoretical reflections on the nature of statehood, Systems Research and Behavioral Science, DOI:10.1002/sres.2925.