Sunday, May 28, 2017

Announcing Upcoming Conference: Challenges and Opportunities of the Chinese Social Credit System (Shanghai Jaiotong University 23-24 Sept. 2017)



More information soon for what we hope will be event that will contribute to understanding this important development in governance. The Conference, Challenges and Opportunities of the Chinese Social Credit System, will take place at Shanghai Jiaotong University 23-24 Sept. 2017. It is organized by Shanghai Jiaotong University; East China University of Political Science and Law ; Shanghai Law Academy (Research Center of Banking Law Practice); Tencent Holdings Ltd (Intellectual Property Office);and the Foundation for Law and International Affairs.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Just Published: "Are Supply Chains Transnational Legal Orders? What We Can Learn from the Rana Plaza Factory Building Collapse"


I am happy to announce the publication of an article, "Are Supply Chains Transnational Legal Orders? What We Can Learn from the Rana Plaza Factory Building Collapse," that appears in the UC Irvine Journal of International, Transnational, and Comparative Law 1(1):11-66 (2016).

The article was a contribution to a symposium, Transnational Legal Ordering and Private Law, held at UC Irvine School of Law. Many thanks to Gregory Shaffer for putting this together.  The symposium concept note explained that our purpose was to assess and evaluate "the extent of change in private law and business regulation that transcends the nation state. Such law and regulation seek to produce order in an issue area that relevant actors construe as a problem. These problems range from labor rights of garment workers to food safety; to securities fraud and financial crises; to corporate social responsibility; to the allocation of authority among courts to hear transnational disputes." In addition to Greg's introduction and my contribution, the issue includes important articles by Cynthia A. Williams, Hannah L. Buxbaum, Christopher A. Whytock, Ralf Michaels, and Peer Zumbansen.

The abstract and introduction follows; comments and engagement always welcome. This work continues earlier efforts to try to understand first, the context in which the enterprise with governance authority may exercise that power, both as to the character of that regulatory power (here); second, the institutional organization from which it is asserted (here); and third, the relationship of that emerging complex of regulatory power to the existing structures of law and politics built around the state (here). This effort seeks to place these governance mechanisms within a broader governance territory by considering what the response to the Rana Plaza factory building collapse reveals about the "territories" governance, the way that those territories function. 


Monday, May 22, 2017

Sexual Assault at the American Law Institute (ALI)--The ALI and its Model Penal Code at the Center of the Controversies on the Sexualization of Criminal Law and the Criminalization of Sexual Rules

For the last several years, the American Law Institute has been embroiled in a quite lively controversy over the specific language of proposed structures of the criminal law of sex and sexual conduct.  This controversy reflects not merely the technical issues of drafting a fair set of statutory provisions that reflect a consensus of underlying principles of sexual conduct.  Rather, the controversy masks the real, and substantially unresolved societal framework for understanding what is sexual and what is not, and more importantly, for determining the extent of the legitimate authority of the state to extend its criminal law to conduct deemed both sexual and, by its nature, also criminal. What makes the conflict especially noteworthy is the way it marks a great shift of emphasis from the middle of the last century.,  In the 1950s, the ALI also faced great conflict in its approach to the Model Penal Code.  But the conflict revolved around decriminalization (e.g., here).  Today, the reverse appears to be true--conflicts revolve around two trends that are conflated in current discourse.  The first is the broadening of concepts of sexualization touching on the character of of conduct (see, e.g., here, here, here, and here).  The second is the criminalization of conduct now sexualized (e.g., here, here, and here).

I explained the context of the current controversy last year (here):
In 2012, the American Law Institute (in which I am a member), agreed to launch a revision of its famous and quite influential Model Penal Code to focus specifically on rising issues of "sexual assault and related offenses." The project It was acknowledged at the time that the issue of the decriminalization of certain conduct around sexual activity "deals with some of the most controversial matters on the current public agenda." (Richard L. Revesz, Director ALI in Forward ALI Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault and Related Offenses (Tent. Draft No. 2 (April 15, 20916). The project has been overseen by its reporter, Stephen J. Schulhofer and its associate reporter, Erin E. Murphy, both of NYU Law School. But it has been highly controversial as I reported in 2014 (see, Sexual Assualt at the American Law Institute--Controversy Over the Criminalization of Sexual Contact in the Proposed Revision of the Model Penal Code).
 The controversy is well evidenced by the history of this project before the ALI. In 2013, a draft on procedural and evidentiary principles applicable to the sexual assault provisions (¶ 213 of the Model Penal Code) and on collateral consequences of conviction was presented to ALI for discussion but no vote. For the 2014 ALI meeting, a tentative draft containing substantive material for discussion and an evidentiary section (proposed revision ¶ 213.7) for approval was submitted but no vote was taken. Again, for the 2015 meeting a draft on substantive and evidentiary material was presented for discussion but no vote. For its 2016 meeting, the ALI is asked to consider for approval two key provisions: ¶ 213.0(3) (definition of consent) and ¶ 213.2 (sexual penetration without consent).
The issue produced substantial controversy and opposition at the ALI's 2016 meeting (here, and here). Now a revised version is back, and the controversy remains lively.  This post includes the text of the Memorandum circulated to ALI members in opposition to the revised  provisions introduced at the 2017 ALI Meeting. Additional background materials may be found here and here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Podcast Interview Maastricht LawTalk on U.S. Law, "the Anglo-American legal order really that different?"

https://maastricht.lawtalk.eu/2017/05/18/5-united-states-law/#

During a visit to Maastricht University faculty of Law this week I was invited to spend some time to speak about U.S. law, its peculiarities and operation in the United States.  The interview has conducted as part of the Maastricht LawTalk series.  Maastricht LawTalk is an independent student run enterprise that describes itself this way:
Legal topics are not always easy to understand, even though they should be. Yet everyone engages in legal activities, be it in a criminal sense, in contractual agreements, or performing a duty. Knowing how to behave and what to do is indeed very useful.

Maastricht Law Talk offers talks about comparative law in the context of the European Union since October 2016. What is law and why do we – as a State – harm others with sentencing? The title honours the importance of the Treaty of Maastricht for the European Union.
It was a rare privilege to speak to European students about the basic nature of U.S. law and its legal system.  It was refreshing to find interest in the fundamental ordering of our system of law and government, and then to speak to the way in which that core theory informs the day to day operation of a law system "on the ground." My thanks to Benedikt Schmitz for putting this together and for his excellent questions. 

The podcast interview may be accessed here.

The narrative introduction follows.  Much of the discussion is drawn from ideas I have further elaborated in an forthcoming book,  More information about the topics discussed here may be accessed here

Conference: Accountability and International Business Operations: Providing Justice for Corporate Violations of Human Rights, Labor and Environmental Standards



(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2017)



Sponsored by the Utrecht Center for Accountability and and Liability Law (UCALL), the upcoming conference, Accountability and International Business Operations: Providing Justice for Corporate Violations of Human Rights, Labor and Environmental Standards, as its name suggests, brings together a great group of individuals to consider one of the most dynamic areas of law and policy today--the normative and methodological issues, in economics, politics and law, that touch on the ramifications of business responsibility for human rights, labor and environmental standards in their operations. I am pleased to pass along more information about this upcoming conference, including a conference concept statement and more detailed program.

Conference Fees: Regular: 150 euro*; PhD Candidate: 75 euro; Student: 35 euro. * Under exceptional circumstances, we can grant a partial waiver for the conference fee to NGO’s registrations. In order to apply for this waiver, a motivated request should be send to ucallconference@uu.nl

Organization: The conference is organized by a team of researchers from the Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law:
Prof. Ivo Giesen (private law)
Dr. Liesbeth Enneking (private law)
Prof. François Kristen (criminal law)
Anne-Jetske Schaap, LLM (criminal law)
Prof. Cedric Ryngaert (international law)
Lucas Roorda, LLM (international law)

The Conference Concept Note and full Program follows:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Interview with Mehr News (Iran): On the Strategic Importance and Ramifications of China's One Belt One Road Initiative

(Old Silk Road; Source here)


I was recently interviewed by Payman Yazdani for Mehr News Agency (Iran). We discussed the strategic importance and ramifications of China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative, with an emphasis on its significance for Turkey and Iran.


The text of the interview, موفقیت چین در احیای جاده ابریشم چشمگیر است/نقش ایران و ترکیه
("China's dramatic success in reviving the Silk Road dramatic / the role of Iran and Turkey") (with English translation) follows below.




Friday, May 12, 2017

Text of My Remarks, "Transnational Legal Orders and Global Regulatory Networks": to be delivered as part of the 2017 Global Law Week and the International Francqui Symposium on Global and Transnational Law Today


I have recently posted (here) about the third edition of the Brussels Global Law Week to be held from 15 to 19 of May 2017 and hosted by the Perelman Centre for Legal Philosophy (Université libre de Bruxelles Faculty of Law)

Posted below is the text of my remarks, Transnational Legal Orders and Global Regulatory Networks, to be delivered as part of the 2017 Global Law Week and the International Francqui Symposium on Global and Transnational Law Today.

Just Published: "Shaping a Global Law for Business Enterprises: Framing Principles and the Promise of a Comprehensive Treaty on Business and Human Rights"





I am happy to announce the publication of an article, "Shaping a Global Law for Business Enterprises: Framing Principles and the Promise of a Comprehensive Treaty on Business and Human Rights," that appears in the North Carolina Journal of International Law 42(2): 417-504 (2016).

The introduction follows; comments and engagement always welcome. This is the fourth in a series of recently published work that explores the legal ecology of globalization, the first within the private sector regulatory systems, the second in Marxist Leninist systems, the third within emerging constituting structures of transnational ordering beyond the state, and this fourth considering the approaches to embedding international norm systems within the great legalization projects of international law. 


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Announcing Conference: Brussels Global Law Week



From 15 to 19 of May 2017, the Perelman Centre will run the third edition of the Brussels Global Law Week. The conference concept note states
Reuniting theory and practice, the Brussels Global Law Week is an annual forum open to academics, researchers, students, NGOs, legal practitioners, regulators and decision-makers to discuss issues of law & globalization. Each year, special attention will be drawn to both research in global and transnational legal theory and practical issues in specific sectors. The short 2017 programme is attached hereby.
My thanks to the excellent job of the organizing committee: 
Prof. Benoît Frydman, Université libre de Bruxelles
Prof. Gregory Lewkowicz, Université libre de Bruxelles
Prof. Hugues Pirotte, Université libre de Bruxelles
Prof. David Restrepo Amariles, HEC Paris & Université libre de Bruxelles
Prof. Arnaud Van Waeyenberge, HEC Paris & Université libre de Bruxelles
Tilen Cuk, Université libre de Bruxelles
Joséphine Woronoff, Université libre de Bruxelles

For those interested in attending Registration is mandatory to attend the Brussels Global Law Week. Places are limited. Please register on EventBrite here. Attendance is free of charge for speakers and for faculty, staff & students of the Université libre de Bruxelles and KULeuven.  Registration fee is € 250 for the whole week. The daily rate is € 75. Please contact philodroit(at)ulb.ac.be. The fee is not refundable. Students and foreign participants may apply for a reduced fee by email. The registration fee includes admission to the Brussels Global Law Week, admission to the cocktail, lunches, coffee, tea and water during the breaks. Please see the brochure attached for further practical information concerning your stay, accommodation and transport.

Most of the interventions will take place at Solbosch Campus ULB, av. Franklin Roosevelt 50, 1050 Bruxelles.

The 2017 Programme follows

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Draft Paper Posted: "Sovereign Wealth Funds, Capacity Building, Development, and Governance"

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2017)




I am pleased to let those interested know that I have posted a draft of my essay, "Sovereign Wealth Funds, Capacity Building, Development, and Governance."

The paper considers the way that SWFs may be transformed by and are transforming the framework of global finance and production relationships. SWFs have already started moving well beyond their idealized form, established within the parameters of the Santiago Principles. SWFs now advance the political and economic projects of states, they serve to strengthen governance, they are the focal point for the normalization of global human rights in economic activities projects, and they also serve to advance the development goals of states. The old issues of the commercial character of these mechanisms, and of their effects of the financial markets and ownership structures of rich home states remains important, but may no longer be the central element pushing the development of SWFs. Law and regulatory structures lag far behind the realities that are taking shape on the ground. The public-private divide, the constraining structures of national principles of taxation and sovereign immunity are now ripe for contestation and change. But on what basis?

The final version is expected to be published with the Wake Forest Law Review whose staff I look forward to working with. In the meantime, comments, engagement and the like deeply appreciated. The abstract and introduction follow.  


No.200 许章润 |先天不足,后天失调 (No. 200 Xu Zhang Run "congenitally deficient, acquired disorders")



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.200 许章润 |先天不足,后天失调 (No. 200 Xu Zhang Run congenitally deficient, acquired disorders). This contribution is particularly interesting for its reflections by Xu Zhang Run.  Beautifully written.

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

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The Battle Between Regulatory and Managerial Approaches Within the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund--The Case of Corruption



The Norwegian Pension Fund Global made public a set of recommendations on May 5.  Most are unremarkable in and of themselves.  What draws attention is what appears to be a difference in appears between the Ethics Council, on the one hand, and Norges Bank, on the other., on the more sensitive issue of corruption (with respect to which I have written critically here, here, and here
On 5 May 2017, the Council on Ethics issued four recommendations relating to gross corruption and one recommendation relating to serious environmental damage.
Norges Bank decided to place under observation two companies that the Council had recommended be excluded due to their involvement in cases of corruption. Furthermore, Norges Bank decided to exercise shareholder rights with respect to two companies involved in corruption cases, where the Council had recommended observation. Norges Bank decided to abide by the Council’s recommendation to exclude a company on the grounds of its involvement in serious environmental damage. (HERE)
This post considers some consequences of that rift and provides links to the decisions. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

27th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy: Two CLE Programs; "Foreign Investment in Cuba: Law, Policy, and Practicalities" and "Coordinating U.S. and Cuban Legal Principles to Resolve Property and Damage Claims"



The 27th Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy will take place in Miami, Florida 27-29 July 2017. The three-day conference, around the theme Cuba: Navigating a Turbulent World, will focus on evaluating the state of the Cuban economy taking into consideration the impending changes in Cuba’s relations with the United States. I will post the final program when it is ready. Those of you in Miami at the end of July might consider participating.

For the first time this year
ASCE’s 2017 Annual Conference includes two CLE-qualifying law sessions organized by Crowell & Moring LLP. Licensed attorneys who register for our conference can receive 1.5 Florida Bar CLE credits for each of the sessions described below, for a total of 3 CLE credit hours. If you need CLE from another jurisdiction, you will receive a Uniform Certificate of Attendance for submission to other states. These sessions will cover the following:


Pedro A. Freyre, Partner; Chair, International Practice, Akerman LLP; and Rolando Anillo, Corporate Counsel, Florida Crystals Corp., and President, Cuban Claims Owners Association will offer a session entitled, "Coordinating U.S. and Cuban Legal Principles to Resolve Property and Damage Claims." I will be offering a session "Foreign Investment in Cuba: Law, Policy, and Practicalities."

More information follows:


Sunday, May 07, 2017

Call for Participation: The Geneva Challenge 2017, The Advancing Development Goals, International Contest for Graduate Students: The Challenges of Employment




This from Prof. Martina Viarengo, who is chairing the academic steering committee, for the 2017 edition of The Geneva Challenge - Advancing Development Goals International Contest for graduate students. This year students are invited to develop analysis-based proposals on "The Challenges of Employment".
The 2017 edition of the Geneva Challenge is a project funded by Swiss Ambassador Jenö Staehelin and is supported by Kofi Annan, the high-patron of the contest. The Geneva Challenge aims to motivate master students to develop ideas on advancing human development within the scope of a relevant topic.

Access to employment is regarded as a tool to improve living standards and eradicate poverty and today the challenges have become a critical concern for both developing and developed countries. As the key to this challenge is an interdisciplinary solution, crossing traditional boundaries between academic disciplines, we are inviting graduate students from all academic programmes to provide helpful strategic recommendations.

Teams of 3-5 master students must submit an 8,000 word proposal which:
--identify a challenge stemming from employment;
--construct an interdisciplinary analysis on how it affects different aspects of development in a specific (but transposable) context;
--propose innovation at the policy, practice, process or technology levels turning the challenge into development opportunity.

The Geneva Challenge 2017 will distribute 17’500 CHF in monetary prizes and the finalists will be invited to publicly present their work in Geneva before a panel of high-level experts. Networking and publication opportunities are also envisioned as part of the prize package.

Registrations close on 25th May 2017.
Submission due by 31st July 2017.
More information is available on: www.thegenevachallenge.org
 More information follows:

Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China VIDEO: Key Moments from CECC hearing “Will the Hong Kong Model Survive?




The Congressional-Executive Commission on China was created by the U.S. Congress in 2000 "with the legislative mandate to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The Commission consists of nine Senators, nine Members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President." (CECC About). The CECC FAQs provide useful information about the CECC. See CECC Frequently Asked Questions. They have developed positions on a number of issues: Access to Justice; Civil Society;Commercial Rule of Law; Criminal Justice; Developments in Hong Kong and Macau ; The Environment ; Ethnic Minority Rights;Freedom of Expression; Freedom of Religion ; Freedom of Residence and Movement ; Human Trafficking ; Institutions of Democratic Governance ; North Korean Refugees in China; Population Planning ; Public Health ; Status of Women ; Tibet ; Worker Rights ; and Xinjiang.

CECC tends to serve as an excellent barometer of the thinking of political and academic elites in the United States about issues touching on China and the official American line developed in connection with those issues. As such it is an important source of information about the way official and academic sectors think about China. As one can imagine many of the positions of the CECC are critical of current Chinese policies and institutions (see, e.g., here, here, here here, here, here, here, here, and here).

This post includes video presentations of the recently concluded CECC hearings on Hong Kong--a space which seems to have drawn the especial attention of the CECC recently (and not without purpose).  Hong Kong appears increasingly to serve as the space within which China and the U.S. test their positions and implement their strategies.  On the U.S. side what is emerging is a new strategy that builds on that of the old Democratic Party and elite intellectual consensus, but with a different aim.   Hong Kong is particularly important now because of its strategically symbolic importance. It has been 20 years since the U.K. ceded the territory back to the Chinese.  For China, Hong Kong represents both an example of its ability to respect treaties and engage with residual political systems in its aggregate national territory.  It also serves as the site where the Chinese Dream--and its openness -- might be best evidenced.  For the United States, Hong Kong represents the necessary wedge for drawing China as an power that does not keep its word, that overplays its hand, and that cannot be trusted.  That is an extraordinarily useful objective--not in China, but as a means of disrupting China's plans for a seamless OBOR system. One might usefully consider the conference contributions in this light.  

The Conference concept note included in the press release and the links to the presentations follow.




Two Calls for Papers From Karin Buhmann (Copenhagen Business School) on Issues in Business and Human Rights

(Pix  © Larry Catá Backer 2017)


My friend Karin Buhmann, Professor, Dr.scient.adm. & PhD (law) and Professor with special responsibilities in Business & Human Rights, Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC) Copenhagen Business School, has announced two quite interesting calls for papers. She writes:
One is for a special issue of the Nordic Journal on Human Rights (NJHR), on research methods in regard to Business & Human Rights. (Please note that it is not a precondition for submission that authors attend the paper-development workshop noted in the CfP. Unfortunately some internet sites that make mention of this CfP incorrectly state that attendance is a precondition for manuscript submission.) This call may be of particular interest to scholars (including young scholars) who have been doing research in which they have elaborated research methods and explained methodological issues in regard to BHR and its often interdisciplinary character. Published by Taylor&Francis, the NJHR is a well established and highly reputed international Human Rights journal.

The other is for a special issue of the Journal Competition & Change on the topic of Business conduct and Human Rights in Global Value Chains. A paper-development workshop for authors whose submissions have been shortlisted for revision and re-submission is being organised at Aarhus University (Denmark) back-to-back with a seminar on Global Value Chains, tentatively on 5 and 6 December 2017. Authors invited to take part will be informed in early November. Here too, attending the workshop is not a condition for submission.
 The announcements follow.


Thursday, May 04, 2017

No.191 王银宏 : 1356年《金玺诏书》与德意志国王选举制度 (No.191 Wang Yinhong: 1356 "Golden Bull [Jin Xi] edict" and the electoral system of the Holy Roman Empire)




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.191 王银宏 : 1356年《金玺诏书》与德意志国王选举制度 (No.191 Wang Yinhong: 1356 "Golden Bull [Jin Xi] edict" and the electoral system of the Holy Roman Empire).

This contribution is particularly interesting for its focus on the constitutional structures (and longevity) of the Holy Roman Empire, with a focus on the Golden Bull of 1356. It is somewhat refreshing--either in China or the West--for scholars to turn to the wider universe of constitutional writings that flourished before the orthodoxy of Franco-American constitutionalism began to occupy a central place in theories of constitutions (with a sidelong glance at the possibilities of Marxist and indigenous constitutionalism). Of course there are echoes of the Golden Bull within mainstream post Revolutionary French constitutionalism. But seeing these more ancient forms with new eyes, unpolluted by the socialization of Western constitutionalism and its ideologies, might produce some interesting insight--for Westerners and for Chinese trying to better embed their own constitutional journeys within global discourse.

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


Video Recording Available: International Conference: New International Trade and Investment Rules Between Globalization and Anti-Globalization


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. Other even related content may be accessed here, here, and here.
We have now been able to make available the video recording of the entire conference.All of the recording links to our events from April 21-24 can be found here under the “Archived Event Video” tab.  Links to each day of the conference may be accessed through the following links:

Friday April 21
Saturday Morning April 22
Saturday Afternoon April 22
Sunday April 23
Monday April 24

My thanks to the staff at Penn State Law for making this possible and for hosting the site. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Piecemeal Globalization of Business and Human Rights Disclosure Systems One State at a Time: A Focus on Australia



Almost a decade ago in an article, From Moral Obligation to International Law: Disclosure Systems, Markets and the Regulation of Multinational Corporations,  I suggested a potential emerging trend in the way in which global civil society--and the states most likely influenced by their efforts--would be able to enhance the importance of human rights based business regulation through systems of disclosure and due diligence.  These would fuse the soft law business and human rights normative project of international organizations and civil society with national systems that remain tied to the conventional constraints of territory and the preservation of the now century old premises of corporate law. "The object of these mandates would not be to establish a definitive set of behaviors, but rather to establish a framework within which corporate stakeholders-consumers, investors, labor, and others - could adjust their relationships on the basis of the behavior disclosed."  But the effect of these mandates would be toward the hardening of international soft law norms within domestic legal orders.  That is a trend that global civil society, at least some important elements of that community, are now committed.And it is producing important innovations at the national level with global effects.


This post considers the way that recent efforts by global civil society to align Australia within this framework of governance--by hardening international normative standards through national due diligence and disclosure legal frameworks--are shaping emerging trends that seek to create global governance of business conduct related to human rights through linkages between public and private governance institutions through public regulation of private governance.


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Know your Rights, An Information Guide to the Basics of New York State Legal System 了解您的权益,纽约州法律制度基础信息指南 A Coalition for Peace & Ethics Project








On behalf of the Coalition for Peace & Ethics I am happy to announce the roll out of our first technical assistance project: Know your Rights, An Information Guide to the Basics of New York State Legal System 了解您的权益,纽约州法律制度基础信息指南

The Know Your Rights New York project targets the Chinese immigrant community in New York, and especially those communities in the greater New York City area. The laboring oar for the Know Your Rights New York project was undertaken by Shan Gao, who developed the approach and did much of the design work for the information booklet. It is Mr. Gao's voice that one hears on the audio version of the Know Your Rights New York booklet.Eventually we hope to augment the offerings with video segments that may be useful for our audience. 

We hope this is the first of other similar projects that will target immigrant and other communities whose access to information tends to be more constrained. This is in keeping with our mission to bring information, knowledge and greater control over everyday lives to people who are otherwise more likely to sit at the margins of mainstream society and mainstream social discourse. Having the tools to manage one's life is an essential element to individual dignity and to be able to take advantage of those opportunities society makes available to all. Future projects include outreach to other immigrant groups as well as to other groups whose access to basic information may be more limited. 

The introduction and links to the booklet and audio follow. 

Monday, May 01, 2017

Submission of Foundation for Law and International Affairs (FLIA) and Coalition for Peace & Ethics (CPE) Responding to Call for inputs - Report of High Commissioner - "Civil society space in multilateral institutions"

(Pix  Larry Catá Backer 2017)
By  Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council  (A/HRC/RES/32/31 (20 July 2016) E F S A C R) the High Commissioner was requested to prepare a Report:
. . .  compiling information on the procedures and practices in respect of civil society involvement with regional and international organizations, including United Nations bodies, agencies, funds and programmes, and the contribution of civil society to their work and challenges and best practices, and in that regard to continue to engage with and seek input from those organizations and entities, as well as the views of States, national human rights institutions, civil society and other stakeholders, and to submit the compilation to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-eighth session (Resolution ¶ 18)
To that end, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights invited contributions from national human rights institutions, civil society and other stakeholders for the forthcoming report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 32/31 on civil society space. An earlier post included the High  Commissioner's "Call for Inputs" and a short discussion of the value of making contributions to that effort (see, Call for inputs - Report of High Commissioner - "Civil society space in multilateral institutions" - Deadline 1 May 2017 ).

This post sets out the Submission of the Foundation for Law and International Affairs (FLIA) and the Coalition for Peace & Ethics (CPE) Responding to Call for inputs - Report of High Commissioner - "Civil society space in multilateral institutions". The Submission was the work of a great team of individuals--Flora Sapio, Shaoming Zhu, Keren Wang and me

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.


No.187 贡塔•托依布纳 : 政治宪法之外的宪法:20世纪的社会宪治谱系 (No. 187 Gunther Teubner: Constitution outside the political constitution: the social constitution of the 20th century)




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.


This is one of my favorite contributions to the series, if only because it brings to Chinese audience the rich work of one of the foremost thinkers of this generation--Gunther Teubner, whose work is well known to Western audiences. It is a translation of Chapter 2 of Teubner's Constitutional Fragments: Societal Constitutionalism and Globalization (Oxford Constitutional Theory) (Oxford 2012).

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

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Just Published: "The Emerging Normative Structures of Transnational Law: Non-State Enterprises in Polycentric Asymmetric Global Orders"



I am happy to announce the publication of an article, "The Emerging Normative Structures of Transnational Law: Non-State Enterprises in Polycentric Asymmetric Global Orders," that appears in the B.Y.U. Journal of Public Law 31(1):1-52 (2016). 

The abstract and introduction follows; comments and engagement always welcome. This is the third in a series of recently published work that explores the legal ecology of globalization, the first within the private sector regulatory systems, the second in Marxist Leninist systems, and this third considers nature of the regulatory space created as the convergence point of regulatory systems that itself produces the parameters within which the projects of legalization and economic globalization converge.
 

Saturday, April 08, 2017

No. 186 中国将取代美国在国际贸易中的地位 (No. 186 Xǔ Zhāngrùn: Past or present, the meaning of the law is always about the 'Dao' of the world and our morals)




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.186 许章润:法意今古,总不外世道人心 (No. 186 Xǔ Zhāngrùn: Past or present, the meaning of the law is always about the 'Dao' of the world and our morals).


In this very interesting and elegant short essay Xǔ Zhāngrùn speaks to his essay 汉语法学论纲 (“The General Principle on Hanyu Jurisprudence, ), and expresses his appreciation for those who support his scholarly project.  The essay is written in a lyrical literary style that is worth the read in which he reflects that the work  is a dialogue with my readers, it is private, intimate but also public. It is private because sometimes, certain things only enjoy between those close circles. It is public because the issues are about public and its interests. He speaks to the meta-narrative that is the Chinese state and the great transitions in its jurisprudential approaches. noting that “The current landscape” is not only an important research field but that research is also the Chinese intellectual’s responsibility to society. He reflects that the prior two hundred years of jurisprudential transition was full of sacrifices, expecting the “last sacrifice” will be the beginning of an “end.”This is connected with both individual and societal purpose. Morally, he notes, we all serve a purpose. History is a tool with purposes. However, the expression of human experience, and expression of life, and even creation of life is a privilege, and of course, a responsibility. The subject’s struggle of the “id “in this mundane life, the search for a self is the essence of the self. Thus, he posits, the tool (history) transcends “fate,” the desire of transcendence is the purpose. “fate” is the nature of things, but “desire” give us action. We cannot know/ see our “Tyche” (the Chinese words is fate ming yun命运), but our effort and our pursuance defined us. With these efforts, we can break our fate as a tool and transcend from fate.  This semiotics approach is then reflected in his notion of the social self. He explains: the self is bounded by the others, thus the formation of “others” (e.g., the "public" or societal) affects every aspect of self, which is why, he argues, one needs to be especially careful about the process of formation; this is a high stakes process for which we need principle, doctrines, and morals.  It is within this normative conceptual space that philosophers have created the idea that people are eager to be good, and humans do show the incapable desire for goodness and the concept of responsibility, giving the species dignity, and thus reflecting and tempering the history of mankind into a steady process of reaching toward "the good." That is a moral he draws form the aftermath of the French Revolution, after which the discussion about forms of law and politics are directed toward serving and maintaining a sustainable and stable peaceful collective living. It is in the service of that project that intellectuals have a responsibility to the public. Therefore, it is necessary to discuss the form of civil society and the civilized time and space, to implement its thinking in the earth and to give its universal character, including everything such as the Chinese mind The human mind of the heavenly life, but also by the practice of rational and temper the formation of human virtue of the righteousness, of course, and that is called the intellectuals to this specific labor and  mission. My thanks to GAO Shan  for his translation and the exchange that enriched the reading of this essay.
The essay was posted to 叁會學坊, the San Hui Fang Workshops microblog and it follows below 中国语文 only.