Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beyond the Triadic Relationship in Business and Human Rights: Thinking About the Duties and Repsonsibilites of Banks, Sovereign Wealth Funds and State Owned Enterprises

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)

The UN Guiding Principles continue their development.  States have been strong in voicing their support for the concept of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and are increasingly seeking ways to legalize those obligations--especially outside their national territories.  Enterprises have  been strong in their defense of the state duty to protect human rights--and of the limitations of their own legal obligations as objects  of law. Civil society continues to agitate for the legalization of the structures of state duty and enterprise responsibility--within a global system marked by the dereliction of states and enterprises of either their duties or their responsibilities.  And the individuals at the center of all of this activity continue to be under served by each of these grand stakeholders in a process undertaken on their behalf but with only limited engagement by those most affected.

But what of hybrid organization and hybrid activities?  This post considers the way in which it may be time to start thinking differently about the role sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), state owned enterprises (SOEs) and banks financing global production chains, in their role within the Guiding Principles.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Just Published: "Research Handbook on Transnational Corporations" (Alice de Jonge and Roman Tomasic, eds.)"

I am happy to report the publication of Research Handbook on Transnational Corporations (Alice de Jong and Roman Tomasic, eds., Edward Elgar 2017). Here is the official book description:

Transnational corporations (TNCs) have moved to the forefront of regulatory governance both within states and in the international arena. The Research Handbook on Transnational Corpora ons provides expert background commentary and up-to-date insights into regulatory frameworks impacting on TNCs at global, industry and national levels. Wri en by global experts in their field, this unique collection of essays provides in-depth understanding of how the forces of globalisation affect the world’s largest corporations, and how those corporations, in turn, shape globalisation.

Comprehensive yet highly accessible, this is the rst major work on the reciprocal impact of TNCs on regulatory processes. The Research Handbook provides guidance on how best to understand the rapidly evolving relationship between TNCs and the processes of treaty making, the forma on of global industry standards and the processes of national law making and policy forma on (with a focus on resource taxa on). Global, industry and national-level case studies are used to explain the basic principles used to support state, private, and international regulatory programs.

Delivering both theoretical and practical insights into the regulation of TNCs, this timely and authoritative Research Handbook will be of particular interest to policy makers, industry practitioners and lawyers. Students and academics will also find it to be an invaluable resource.

Contributors include: R. Anderson, M. Bowman, L. Catá Backer, A. Chou, A. De Jonge,G. Gilligan, D. Gleeson, M.A. Gonzalez-Perez, V. Harper Ho, J.A. Kirshner, D. Kraal, L. Leonard, R. Lopert, M.E. Monasterio, P. Neuwelt, J. O’Brien, A. Rühmkorf, R. Tomasic, M. Wörsdörfer

The Table of Contents follows, along with the Introduction to my contribution, The Evolving Relationship and Political Actors and Governments also follows.

Announcing Future Publication of "Elements of Law and the U.S. Legal System"

(Washington Monument Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)

I am happy to announce that Carolina Academic will soon be publishing my text, tentatively titled Elements of Law and the U.S. Legal System. Law embedded within systems in the United States tends to be mystifying to everyone, even individuals trained in law elsewhere. By the end of the usual course of U.S. legal education most students would roughly know it when they encounter it. But they would be hard pressed to explain it either to non-lawyers or to foreigners, even sophisticated foreign lawyers or jurists. There are a number of distinct kinds of law in the United States, and each of them are deeply embedded within their own systems of generation, interpretation and application, which then somehow work together It made sense, then, especially as a century of legalization forces more and more people world wide to bump up against aspects of that system, to try to find a way to explain law, the systems within which it is embedded, and the way that this embedding substantially defines the character of both.

The book is based on insights from teaching first year students, foreign lawyers and students of politics and policy (Elements of Law Series), at Penn State. The course had a short and controversial history but it began my thinking about how one could go about thinking through the systemic element in the distinct elements of law (common law, equity, statute, administrative regulation, public-private hybrids, and societal governance), their systemic qualities (that distinguish each) and their quite distinct relationship with systems of government. Indeed, that fundamental relationship between systems of law and systems of government, so essential to the understanding of how law "works" in the United States, is rarely centered in legal studies.

This post includes the table of contents of the work along with the more or less official book description. Future posts will set out more detailed descriptions of each chapter and a brief summary of the chapter. The draft Teacher's Manual will also be posted. Comments welcome for all.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Just Published "Law Professor and Accidental Historian: The Scholarship of Michael A. Olivas" (Ediberto Román, ed., Carolina Academic Press, 2017)

It is my great pleasure to announce the publication of Law Professor and Accidental Historian: The Scholarship of Michael A. Olivas (Ediberto Román, ed., Carolina Academic Press, 2017) (ISBN978-1-61163-686-4).
Law Professor and Accidental Historian is a timely and important reader addressing many of the most hotly debated domestic policy issues of our times—immigration policy, education law, and diversity. Specifically, this book examines the works of one of the country's leading scholars—Professor Michael A. Olivas. Many of the academy's most respected immigration, civil rights, legal history, and education law scholars agreed to partake in this important venture, and have contributed provocative and exquisite chapters covering these cutting-edge issues. Each chapter interestingly demonstrates that Olivas's works are not only thoughtful, brilliantly written, and thoroughly researched, but almost every Olivas article examined has an uncanny ability to predict issues that policy-makers failed to consider. Indeed, in several examples, the book highlights ongoing societal struggles on issues Professor Olivas had warned of long before they came into being. Perhaps with this book, our nation's policy-makers will more readily read and listen closely to Olivas's sagacious advice and prophetic predictions.
The Table of Contents, plus the Introduction and conclusion to my contribution to this excellent collection, If One Wants to Change Societal Norms One Must Change Society: Lessons from Michael Olivas and ‘Constitutional Criteria’ in Managing Higher Education Admissions Decisions, follow.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

No.172 许章润 :政治哲学的汉语学思及其现代品格 (Xu Zhangrun, Political Philosophy and Its Modern Character).

This essay considers the origins of Chinese political philosophy int he current era. He notes "It can be seen here that the rise of political philosophy in the current Chinese context is rooted in the need for the search for sound political principles and credible and achievable political values ​​in response to the construction of political legitimacy "

The essay was posted to 叁會學坊, the San Hui Fang Workshops microblog and it follows below 中国语文 only.

Friday, January 06, 2017

"Let's Make a Deal" as Economic Policy: Thoughts on President Elect Trump's Intention to Abandon the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

I was very grateful to the folks at Jurist for their invitation to think about the ramification of President Elect Trump's stated determination to abandon the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) at the start of his term as U.S. President, a determination that follows on the current administration's unwillingness to push it through in 2016. 
 JURIST ( is a web-based legal news and real-time legal research service powered by a mostly-volunteer team of over 60 part-time law student reporters, editors and Web developers led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.  JURIST is produced as a public service for the continuing legal education of its readers and law student staffers, and uses the latest Internet technology to track important legal news stories and materials and present them rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in a widely-accessible format. [Jurist FAQ]

This post includes the text of my commentary for Jurist--Let's Make a Deal" as Economic Policy; the original can be accessed HERE.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

No.171 许宏 : 中国前的“中国” (No.171 Xu Hong: China before "China")

This essay considers the origins of China as a self conscious civilization before its traditional beginnings.  It makes for fascinating reading, but one that also highlights the sensitivity of origins to the discourse today. In addition, even for non-Chinese readers, the images are worth reviewing. The suggestion of the movement and then aggregation of civilizations in the pre-historical period are especially useful.

The essay was posted to 叁會學坊, the San Hui Fang Workshops microblog and it follows below 中国语文 only.

The Orishas Speak Part II: The Full 2017 Letter of the Yoruba Association of Cuba (Letra del Año para el 2017 de la Asociación Yoruba de Cuba)

(Pix CiberCuba Jan 1, 2017)

For the last five years I have written of the annual letter of the Cuban Council of the High Priests of Ifá (Consejo Cubano De Sacerdotes Mayores De Ifá), the practitioners of traditional religion brought over from West Africa with the slave trade and now naturalized as a powerful indigenous religion throughout the Caribbean and growing in the United States. (e.g., 2016, 2015; 2014; 2013; 2012).

In a prior post I included the Forward to the 2017 Annual Letter of the Cuban Yoruba Association.

The Full 2017 Annual Letter with its predictions and guidance follows, along with links to the Letters from the communities in other states, courtesy of Proyecto Orunmila.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

The Orishas Speak: The 2017 Letter of the Yoruba Association of Cuba (Letra del Año para el 2017 de la Asociación Yoruba de Cuba); 2017 Letter for Candomblé/Umbanda, and Appendix from Miami

(Pix CiberCuba Jan 1, 2017)

For the last five years I have written of the annual letter of the Cuban Council of the High Priests of Ifá (Consejo Cubano De Sacerdotes Mayores De Ifá), the practitioners of traditional religion brought over from West Africa with the slave trade and now naturalized as a powerful indigenous religion throughout the Caribbean and growing in the United States. (e.g., 2016, 2015; 2014; 2013; 2012).
La Letra del Año comenzó a emitirse en Cuba a finales del siglo XIX, sin poder precisar la fecha exacta. Por datos y documentos se revela que babalawos procedentes de las diferentes ramas religiosas existentes en el país comenzaron a reunirse para efectuar con todo rigor las ceremonias establecidas, que concluían el primero de enero con la apertura de la Letra del Año. (EcuRed, Letra del Año) (The Annual Letter was first produced sometime near the end of the 19th century.  Existing evidence suggests that the Babalawos of the different branches of the faith in the nation started to gather together  to invoke with all rigor the appropriate ceremonies that concluded on the 1st of January) with the opening of the Letter of the Year).
2017 marks the second year of an important change, in which many of the most important branches of the faith came together to produce a unified letter. The object of the annual letter is to provide guidance for the nation and its people.  More specifically it is meant to provide guidance for faith practitioners otherwise unable to receive more specific guidance within their own branch
La letra indica que es lo que comunican los Orichas a las família de santo y creyentes, como les irá en el transcurso del año en curso, y lo que deberán hacer para que, las posibles tragedias venideras no los agarre tan desprevenidos. Por esa letra, se regirán todos los familiares de ese ilé (casa) sin excepción, durante todo ese año, y en ella quedan determinados cuales limpiezas (Ebbós) deben hacerse todos los miembros.
Las casas que no puedan regirse por la letra sacada por el mayor de ese Ilé, bien sea por falta de comunicación con su padrino, o cualquier otra razón, no podrá quedarse por ese motivo sin letra del año por la cual regirse. En esos casos se regirá por la que se saca para todo el país o región. (EcoRed La Letra del Año)
But the letters alos have important social and political significance. Especially when they suggest challenges the Letters are sometimes viewed as (pointed) political criticism.  

The Transmittal Letter of the Yoruba Association of Cuba, along with the Forward of the Annual Letter follows (all in Castellano and Yoruba) along with my brief comments which will be augmented as the full letter is made available. The core guidance of the Adelante--Iré Aye Oyale Tesi Lese Olofi (roughly: this will be a good year for development and finance at home). A satire on the 2017 Letter ends this post, suggesting both the importance of the practice and its use as a means for directing satire against the government (Catellano only).

Lastly, for the Candombl/Umbandae community (Brazil and diaspora) a 2017 letter is also included, along with a link to a short video (Protuguese only).

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ruminations 68(6) (From Principle to Terror): Looking Back on 2016 in Epigrams and Aphorisms

(Pix © Flora Sapio 2016)
In many ways, the year that is ending has proven to be quite significant. Mostly, it served as a hard reminder that the carefully crafted project of legalization and judicialization of the economic, religious and cultural spheres that were meant to serve as the foundations of a global order to make global war effectively impossible has begun to fray. And with the fraying of the legalization-judicialization project, politics and power have again emerged as significant factors in the organization of law and governance systems. It has seen the destabilization of the Middle East and its consequential destabilization of Europe. It has seen the retreat of a great power, a perpetually brooding political Colossus trapped in its own doubts and pretensions, and the flexing of muscles of rising powers through territorial expansionism and bullying of weaker partners. It has seen the exercise of mass power in the United States and other places that surprised elites that had long grown confident of their ability to manage their people, whether under Marxist Leninist or democratic principles. It has seen the unmasking of the militarization of the internal security and police structures of even the most stable and democratic states, the abandonment of law in battle against drugs and the emergence of law as a technique of managing corruption. It has seen the development of governance beyond the state and the determination of states seeking to substitute itself for the market. It has seen states us law, norms, markets and culture to drive efforts to perfect "model" workers, individuals and citizens, which can then serve the state's perfection of its markets, its centrally planned decision making structures, or its structures of divine command on earth. The Jewish people continued to provide fodder for all sorts of activity and were used by left, right and themselves to their quite distinct ends, as other religious institutions sought to maintain or expand their institutional jurisdiction within legal, cultural, economic and social structures in and beyond states. The rise of global communities has now been challenged by states seeking to avoid the implications of normative communities that cannot be confined to and managed by the state.

2016 is rich with these events that expose the complex connections between law, politics, economics, religion and culture. These events will set the course for 2017, even as new actors seek to take manage people, events, states, enterprises and other institutions with substantial consequential effects of the mass. But most of all 2016 evidence both the great power and the fragility of mass participation in institutions in which they find themselves in a continuous loop of mutually dependent overlordship.

With no objective in particular, this post provides my summary of the slice of 2016 in which I was embedded through epigrams and aphorisms.

This is Part 6 (From Principle to Terror). Share your own!

Links to Epigrams and Aphorisms: Ruminations 68.