Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Reflections on Shen Wei: "One Belt One Road Initiative and Beyond in the Context of (Anti-) Globalization"





(Pix Credit EUOBOR)

It was our great pleasure here at the Penn State School of International Affairs and the Law School to host Shen Wei, Dean and Professor of Law at the Shandong University Law School as part of our Conference "New International Trade and Rules Between Globalization and Anti-Globalization".  We were even more fortunate to have Dean Shen Wei specially address our university during the course of his visit. The presentation, entitled "One Belt One Road Initiative and Beyond in the Context of (Anti-) Globalization," was enthusiastically received by our students and the discussion after the presentation nicely framed national perspectives from all over the world.



What follows are my reflections on Dean Shen Wei's excellent and the discussion, which I hope do justice to the presentation (Print Version HERE). Those reflections are followed by a bio of Dean Shen Wei.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Closing Remarks: International Conference: New International Trade and Investment Rules between Globalization and Anti-Globalization. Penn State University


I was delighted to have helped organize a conference at Penn State: New International Trade and Rules Between Globalization and Anti-Globalization. The Conference concept note and program may be accessed here.

This post includes my closing remarks

No.190-2 杨璐:从洛克到休谟:论英国政治社会思路的转向(下) (No.190 Yang Lu: From Locke to Hume: On the Turn of British Political and Social Thought (2))


This is another in the series of essays that were presented at the “来华外国人与近代中国法” 国际学术研讨会 "Foreigners and Modern Chinese Law" International Symposium Conference and then continued thereafter in the same spirit.

No.190 杨璐:从洛克到休谟:论英国政治社会思路的转向(下) (No.190 Yang Lu: From Locke to Hume: On the Turn of British Political and Social Thought (2)).

This contribution suggests the way that Chinese scholars have begun to consider the contributions of Hume. Hume has tended to be understudied in comparison with Locke and Hobbes. This essay seeks to begin to remedy that state of affairs. It is most enlightening in the way that Chinese scholars have begun to seek in Hume lessons that may have an application to local context. This post includes Part 2 of the essay. For Part 1 see HERE.

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


No.190 杨璐:从洛克到休谟:论英国政治社会思路的转向(上) (No.190 Yang Lu: From Locke to Hume: On the Turn of British Political and Social Thoughts (1))



This is another in the series of essays that were presented at the “来华外国人与近代中国法” 国际学术研讨会 "Foreigners and Modern Chinese Law" International Symposium Conference and then continued thereafter in the same spirit.

No.190 杨璐:从洛克到休谟:论英国政治社会思路的转向(上) (No.190 Yang Lu: From Locke to Hume: On the Turn of British Political and Social Thought (1)).

This contribution suggests the way that Chinese scholars have begun to consider the contributions of Hume. Hume has tended to be understudied in comparison with Locke and Hobbes. This essay seeks to begin to remedy that state of affairs. It is most enlightening in the way that Chinese scholars have begun to seek in Hume lessons that may have an application to local context.

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


Thursday, April 20, 2017

"Scenarios for China’s Future: A One-Day Pre-Conference Workshop" at Penn State



Analysis has undergone a profound change over the last generation.  Where once planning was populated by individuals and the heroic notion of human activity, today the individual has been reduced to a single data set that produces meaning only as part of an aggregate and the behavior of collectives of people, like viruses, can be understood as a set of relational linkages that can be discovered and managed.  At the same time, the traditional forms of analysis grounded in extrapolation and linear thinking has been giving way to a more complex form of approaching challenges that make space not just to the non linear but also to the non-rational. 

From out of these trends, scenario planning has emerged as an increasingly important tool for organizing analysis. "Scenarios deal with two worlds; the world of facts and the world of perceptions. They explore for facts but they aim at perceptions inside the heads of decision-makers. Their purpose is to gather and transform information of strategic significance into fresh perceptions." (Pierre Wack, “The Gentle Art of Re-perceiving”, Harvard Business Review, September–October 1985)

"Scenario planning has been used by some of the world's largest corporations, including Royal Dutch Shell, Motorola, Disney and Accenture.  . . . According to Bain & Company's annual survey of management tools, fewer than 40% of companies used scenario planning in 1999. But by 2006 its usage had risen to 70%. As a result of its scenario planning, the New York Board of Trade decided in the 1990s to build a second trading floor outside the World Trade Centre, a decision that kept it going after September 11th 2001." (here).

It is with this in mind that I was pleased to play a small role in bringing a workshop on scenario planning to Penn State. That workshop, "Scenarios for China’s Future: A One-Day Pre-Conference Workshop" will take place on April 21, 2017, facilitated by Matthew Spaniol,  an Industrial PhD Fellow at Danish Maritime, a member-based organization representing the interests of the maritime industry in Copenhagen, Denmark and my colleague Nicholas Rowland. The workshop serves as an introductory event to the upcoming conference at Penn State: New International Trade and Rules Between Globalization and Anti-Globalization.

The Concept Note and announcement follows:


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Upcoming Conference at Penn State: "New International Trade and Rules Between Globalization and Anti-Globalization"


I am happy to announce an upcoming conference at Penn State: New International Trade and Rules Between Globalization and Anti-Globalization. Speakers at the conference will consider the following themes:
1. The United States and China appear to be pursuing distinct strategies toward the organization of international trade and investment. National and international organizations continue to work through the WTO, but regional and other multilateral frameworks appear to supplement or supplant the germinal structures of globalization. This panel considers the form and consequences of these quite significant movements to develop or move from the normative framework of trade of the last half century and to point to the new directions that the organization of trade and finance may be taking.

2. Among the most remarkable developments of the last century has been the rise of the societal sphere and of non-state governance systems. These systems have acquired official recognition through international instruments, the most important of which might be the 2011 U.N. Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. This panel explores the scope and development of these non state governance systems, their interactions with legal frameworks at the national and international level, and the nature of its own autonomous operation.

3. One of the important consequences of globalization in economic activity has been the change in the relationship between the state and production. More importantly, there has appeared to emerge new forms of organization of regulatory power within the processes of production itself. This panel will explore the scope and nature of these autonomous regulatory communities, their interactions with traditional centers of power, and their future importance.

4. The explosion of Chinese exports has become one of the most significant events in international trade and investment. China has also been pursuing stronger influence in the global market by proactively engaging in the negotiation of international trade and investment partnerships and agreements. These extend well beyond its One Belt One Road policy and embrace trade, development, infrastructure projects and capacity building with its partners.

The Conference will be held in English and Chinese. The Conference Concept Note and Program follows: 


Monday, April 17, 2017

Preliminary Draft Posted: "The Corporate Social Responsibilities of Financial Institutions for the Conduct of their Borrowers: The View from International Law and Standards"


(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2017)


I have just posted a preliminary draft of an article that is currently entitled The Corporate Social Responsibilities of Financial Institutions for the Conduct of their Borrowers: The View from International Law and Standards. The article is expected to be published in the Lewis and Clark Law Review.

The object of the article to to think about two different but related trends. The first is on the linkages that appear to be growing between domestic legal orders, international standard setting organizations and private organizations with respect to corporate social responsibility rules, including sustainability and business and human rights norms. I am interested in seeing the extent to which one can understand CSR as a set of law and norm structures that seek to maximize the value of linking law, social norms, markets, national and international law together to produce a web of command and guidance that might produce a coherent and targeted effect. The second is on CSR and indirect compliance mechanisms, that is on the development of the development of the instrumental use of other actors to compel CSR compliance by operating companies. This is particularly intriguing for the possibilities (and challenges) it may offer through regimes that are based on the privatization of law and the transfer of regulatory hard(er) authority (through contract) in lending institutions. Legal privatization merits greater focus in the context of CSR debates.

As always, reactions, suggestions and engagement are most welcome. The current version of the abstract and introduction follow.


Comparative and Interdisciplinary Analysis From Cuba Counterpoints: (1) If Betsy DeVos met Ena Elsa Velázquez; (2) Cuban Travelogues into the Future’s Past; (3) Havana City of the Dead; and (4) Afro-Cuban Religion's "New Man"



Our friends at Cuba CounterPoints have published a great April issue XVI. Highlighted here are three of the essays published: (1) If Betsy DeVos met Ena Elsa Velázquez; (2) Cuban Travelogues into the Future’s Past; (3) Havana City of the Dead; and (4) Afro-Cuban Religion's "New Man".

Re-posting of the four essays follows below.  My thanks as always to Ariana Hernandez-Reguant for her critical work in pulling this together.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Corporate Social Responsibility Law--A Tentative Syllabus


(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2016)

I will be teaching a course on Corporate Social Responsibility. I am delighted by the prospect.  Like the subject itself, the course is a hybrid.  Corporate social responsibility is inherently hybrid in its nature, character, and manifestation as both law and policy.  Its governance trajectories touch on the essence of law and the lawyer's craft; its normative trajectories speak to politics, ethics and morals, to the fundamental organization of cultures of human interactions in the economic sphere.

First, it focuses on enterprises--that is on institutions organized for the purpose, principally, of economic activity.  Collective and collective activities are at the center of this field.  It focuses on the individual within a collective that is not the state. As such, also embedded within it are those organizations and institutions that operate within or in relation to that sphere.  At its limit, it touches on all organizations other than the state.  

Second, it focuses on the societal role of enterprises--that is on the structures and frameworks within which non-state organizations (and specifically enterprises) order themselves in and of themselves that are found outside the formal structures of state and government. One speaks here of those direct relations between the enterprise and its communities sometimes within and sometimes beyond the state and sometimes in a space ceded by the state. But these societal relations can have regulatory effect; and the state may well seek to legalize some to all of those societal relations.      

Third, it focuses on the responsibility of enterprises within the societal sphere, that is on the autonomous obligation of enterprises to embed itself within the regulatory structures through which it engages in the communities where it operates. Responsibility is to be differentiated from obligation. The societal responsibilities of enterprises are not to be confused with the mandatory obligations of everyone subject to its jurisdiction to obey the command of law. And yet the societal responsibilities of enterprises share with law the notion of authority and leadership,of accountability and of autonomy embedded within the strictures of the norms that frame responsibility.   

CSR, then, occupies a conceptual space between the social and the legal, and between the moral and legal order.  Such a conceptual space is inherently unstable, especially in the context of globalization that at once appears to shift public regulatory power to state collectives (energizing a robust sphere of public international law), even as it also appears to shift regulatory power to the private sphere. This instability thus manifests itself in contests for control of regulatory space--through robust projects of legalization and judicialization of the societal sphere in general, and the obligations of enterprises specifically--or through the privatization of the legal sphere as enterprises themselves are deputized to undertake the role once reserved to states. It is at this point that corporate social responsibility becomes interesting to the law--the lawyer, to the legislator, to the administrator and the courts. Yet that convergence also reveals the vibrancy of governance beyond the control of law, and of the state.

It is to those issues that this course is directed. The syllabus is constructed with these general ideas in mind.  Comments and suggestions (especially for compiling a useful student friendly reading list) gratefully received as this remains very much a work in progress.