Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Commodification of Labor and the Price of Labor Wage Remittances: Venkatesh Nayak on "RTI reveal: More than 10 Indian workers died every day in Gulf countries in the last six years; 117 deaths for every US$ 117 remitted"

(Pix credit here)

We have come to understand that despite all of the glorious talk about individual dignity and human rights, all economic systems continue to center productive forces in their economic calculus.  One of the great consequences of that universal impulse is the commodification of labor (as a product that itself generates value for the employer--usually the state) and the abstraction of individuals (into streams of income repatriated from abroad plus fees extracted through this process). There are exceptions, of course. High status workers acquire individuality; and those who serve their masters and whose working conditions can be used strategically to advance political and other objectives (for example when conditions acquire a political dimension, e.g., here).

This commodification and abstraction takes distinct forms within global production.

Commodification forms are exemplified by the economic policies of Cuba and N. Korea.  Both states see in their workers a commodity that can be leased to others.  Sometimes the transaction is direct and pedestrian--N. Korea leases its workers to man the factories of advancing developing states in need for cheaper labor inputs to reduce overall production costs (e.g., here, and here). Other times it is tied to strategic political objectives.  Cuba has managed both to advance its political agenda and to earn substantial cash from its programs leasing doctors and other medical facilities to (mostly) developing states through its so-called policy of medical internationalism (e.g., here, here, here, and here).

Abstraction forms are exemplified by the encouragement of labor migration targeted to certain areas for the purpose of generating remittances home. The export of domestic labor abroad, then, serves to generate wealth at home  through the expectation that such exported labor will send home whatever cash they can. The individual laborer, then, is transformed to an income stream, the present value of which serves as an important element in macro-economic policy. Cuba has been famous for exploiting this effect as a part of its macro-economic policies (e.g., resources here). But other states across the middle and lower tiers of development have also relied heavily on this technique.  South Asia is an important participant in this respect (e.g., here ("Pakistan is expected to receive remittances worth a record $22 billion in financial year 2018-19 as the government has offered an incentive package to overseas workers to attract more money through official banking channels, experts said.")). The Philippines offer another model--exporting domestic workers (e.g., here ("But one "export" that remains critically important is the outflow of Philippine workers to overseas countries from where they send home huge total cash remittances.")).

Developing states which profit form the practice, civil society that encourage or tolerate the practices without much criticism, and international institutions tend to see in the practice the positive values of wealth creation (for someone, it is not clear just what portion of the wealth created actually flows to the earner and her family) may not pay enough attention to the costs of such production of income. Attention is usually paid to such costs in the wake of scandal (e.g., Kuwait: Death of Filipina maid highlights abuse of workers; 6 out of 10 maids in Singapore are exploited; Mexican workers say they are victims of abuse on Canadian farms), though the role of international bodies could be subject to some analysis (e.g., UN labour body drops case against Qatar of migrant worker abuse).

Many of these stories fail to adequately consider the systemic costs to life of the generation of income strategies embodied in commodification and abstraction policies. And, indeed, the costs in terms of life and living conditions appear to "zero out" in any analysis that considers the "value added" of income generation that is represented by policies of labor leasing or remittance production. The effect is to create a system of income generation in which the state effectively "free rides" on the lives of the workers exported. Yet one wonders about the extent to which a state undertakes its duty to protect human right sin a context in which  it effectively zeros out the lives and working conditions of individuals who have effectively traded their humanity for streams of income to themselves and ofr the state.

Venkatesh Nayak has sought to capture at least a sense of the enormity of those costs in the context of the export of Indian labor to the Middle East. His essay written for  Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), RTI reveal: More than 10 Indian workers died every day in Gulf countries in the last six years; 117 deaths for every US$ 117 remitted (6 November 2018) follows. Its core finding is embedded in the essay's title and is worth highlighting here:
1) Available data indicates that at least 24,570 Indian workers died in the six Gulf countries between 2012 and mid-2018. This number could increase if the complete figures for Kuwait and UAE are made available publicly. This amounts to more than 10 deaths per day during this period
The essay follows below. I have posted work from Mr. Nayak before: on big data governance in Indiadeath sentencing in India; whistle Blower protections; and extra judicial killings.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

12-Flora Sapio on the Zero Draft of a Legally Binding Instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprise (Article 1 Preamble)

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2018; Musée Ariana, porcelain figures Meissen 1725-1730 )

Flora Sapio (Comments on the "Zero-Draft"), and I (Making Sausages?: Preliminary Thoughts on the "Zero-Draft") have been considering the challenges posed by the Zero Draft.  But we wanted to dig deeper.  To that end we wanted to avoid the altogether too easy exercise of textual exegesis to suggest the challenges that this draft might construct for itself.

Rather than consider text, or text in light of the various mandates and principles purportedly manifested in the language used to build the Zero Draft, we thought it might be useful to consider text within the context of the initial commentary it might generate among Zero Draft stakeholders motivated enough to make them. These, then, might usefully inform the reading of text, and sharpen analysis of its structure and consequences. 

To that end, and in this and subsequent posts, Flora Sapio  presents summaries of discussions on each article of the Zero Draft, based on the written submissions available on the website of the OEIGWG.  These, then, will be woven together first to develop both a critique of the Zero Draft, and thereafter to suggest the value of an alternative, framework, model for such a project.

These Commentaries form part of a larger Coalition for Peace and Ethics Project on the Effort to Elaborate an International Instrument on Business and Human Rights. Go to CPE Treaty Project Page: HERE.

This Part 12 focuses on Article 1 of the Zero Draft (Preamble). 



Friday, December 14, 2018

Informal Proceedings: “变化世界中的公司”2018 年国际学术研讨会--2018 International Symposium on The Corporation in a Changing World




I had earlier circulated information about the marvelous conference “变化世界中的公司”2018 年国际学术研讨会--2018 International Symposium on The Corporation in a Changing World, including the program and participant lists in 中国语文 and English (HERE).

I was delighted to be part of this event that considered a range of corporate law related issues from a comparative perspective. These included the challenges of independent board members, of corporate social responsibility, of good governance, of corporate engagement in the world, of the value of corporate codes of conduct, of integration between the commercial and financial sectors, of gender fairness, and of the challenges of corporate groups. My great thanks to the conference organizers and to Ezra Mitchell of the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

This post includes my fairly informal proceedings of the Conference, which follows below.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

11-Flora Sapio on the Zero Draft of a Legally Binding Instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprise (Article 5 Jurisdiction)

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2018; Musée Ariana, porcelain figures Meissen 1725-1730 )

Flora Sapio (Comments on the "Zero-Draft"), and I (Making Sausages?: Preliminary Thoughts on the "Zero-Draft") have been considering the challenges posed by the Zero Draft.  But we wanted to dig deeper.  To that end we wanted to avoid the altogether too easy exercise of textual exegesis to suggest the challenges that this draft might construct for itself.

Rather than consider text, or text in light of the various mandates and principles purportedly manifested in the language used to build the Zero Draft, we thought it might be useful to consider text within the context of the initial commentary it might generate among Zero Draft stakeholders motivated enough to make them. These, then, might usefully inform the reading of text, and sharpen analysis of its structure and consequences. 

To that end, and in this and subsequent posts, Flora Sapio  presents summaries of discussions on each article of the Zero Draft, based on the written submissions available on the website of the OEIGWG.  These, then, will be woven together first to develop both a critique of the Zero Draft, and thereafter to suggest the value of an alternative, framework, model for such a project.

These Commentaries form part of a larger Coalition for Peace and Ethics Project on the Effort to Elaborate an International Instrument on Business and Human Rights. Go to CPE Treaty Project Page: HERE.

This Part 11 focuses on Article 5 of the Zero Draft (Jurisdiction). 


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Building a New American Global Liberal Order?--Reflections on Pompeo's Speech ("Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order") to the German Marshall Fund 4 December 2018


It is a pity no one takes the current administration seriously.  That lament is not personal--that is, it ought not to be interpreted as any sort of judgment about the actions or character of the people who now hold positions of authority.  I leave those judgements to the psychologists, politicians, ideologues, and sophists among us. Rather, it is a pity that the current administration's efforts to outline its vision for the emerging American global order has been mindlessly dismissed out of hand. That pitiable state acquires more important dimension when advanced by those who hold positions of influence (but no longer have personal or group access to power), who view this emerging Trump Administration vision, and the people who are advancing these ideas, as personal, professional, and ideological enemies.  As a consequence, the current campaign by those out of power (or with no access to influence within the state apparatus) to mount (effective) campaigns of marginalization, demonization, and personal attack, obscures emerging realities, even as it advances political and ideological objectives.  Agit-prop is no substitute for analysis, though it is a powerful weapon for advancing political agendas. And yet our intellectual classes have developed a taste for conflating the two.

This was very much in evidence among those with access to the global press, especially the establishment press that is used as a vehicle for the projection of influence among literate masses, in the wake of the recent speech delivered by Secretary of State Pompeo at the German Marshall Fund, Brussels, Belgium (Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order: Remarks delivered by Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo at the German  Marshall Fund, Brussels, Belgium, December 4, 2018).

"Responses ranged from tepid to hostile" (Pompeo Questions the Value of International Groups Like U.N. and E.U., New York Times). The speech was dismissed as ridiculous (Stewart Patrick, Tilting at Straw Men: Secretary Pompeo’s Ridiculous Brussels Speech, for the Council on Foreign Relations). But see Trump building a 'new liberal world order', says secretary of state Mike Pompeo. The Washington Post, already quite cross with this administration for other reasons, put forward a "perspective" chiding the United States for lecturing Europeans on their own affairs and then noting: "The third and most disturbing takeaway was the number of times panelists talked about the need to cope with the United States and China, as if there were no difference between the two countries in Europe’s eyes" (Europeans are quite aware of what they’re going through. Is Mike Pompeo?, Washington Post)

Though this last sentence was meant to heighten the criticism with which the perspective is larded, it does make the only point worth emphasizing--not as a negative but as a positive. As I have been suggesting for some time (and with greater certainty after the American elections of 2016), like it or not (and those once in positions of authority, along with influential sectors of the global intellectual classes based in the West, loathe it) two intimately related visions of the emerging global order have been emerging. Both have been dismissed out of hand.  The first is that developed as the natural progression from the principles and objectives of the great project of Chinese reform that was once understood as socialist modernization and is now embodied in projects like the Belt and Road Initiative and New Era ideology.  The other (which irritates people in the West more), the "America First" Initiative (an irritating name, to be sure) has become the visible expression of a cluster of ideas that are only now acquiring something that resembles a form of a different vision of the Western liberal world order. That emerging vision is organically related to the one on which powerful elements of the Western intelligentsia had banked most of its resources over the last generation, and yet it undermines its central post 1989 organizing principle--that the state must wither away under the guidance of an autonomous network of global institutional orders. To that end, the United States itself will mark the contours of that transformation within its own national to transnational order. Those were notions that reached it most refined expression under the Obama Presidency. In his well known speech in Cairo in 2009:
 Like Mr. Obama, the United States represented that blended ideal that serves as a proxy for the world. "Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores" Remarks by the President On a New Beginning, supra. It is the world incarnate, a theme Mr. Obama raised for the first time in this form in its inaugural address. See, Larry Catá Backer, Democracy Part XIV: “For Now We See Through A Glass, Darkly; But Then Face to Face”; On President Obama's Inauguration Speech Law at the End of the Day, January 21, 2009. "We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."" Remarks by the President On a New Beginning, supra. (Mr. Obama Speaks in Egypt: "Islam is a Part of America"--The Ummah Wahida, and the State in Two Distinct World Orders).
And these were the notions against which both the Trump Presidency, and in their own way the political ideology emerging in the Chinese "New Era" proffer their own quite distinct vision.  

The "New Era" American vision parallels in many respects, those emerging in China as unveiled in its 19th Communist Party Congress in 2017. It represents an acknowledgement, at least in some quarters in the West, that the context in which internationalism had emerged has now changed fundamentally.  That change is in large part a measure of its success, but one which appears to have consumed it.  These are the ideas worth examining not in the context of personal smear campaigns that appear to mark this era of American politics, but as ideas worthy of serious intellectual engagement. The question that Secretary Pompeo poses is an important one--is the era of global multilateralism characterized by the building of complex supra-national public and private institutions into which effective autonomous transnational regulatory authority is vested over, should it be re-considered, or must it be defended against the great states who bought built the system and now stand as its greatest opponents?

This post considers Secretary Pompeo's speech through that lens. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

10-Flora Sapio on the Zero Draft of a Legally Binding Instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprise (Article 4 Definitions)

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2018; Musée Ariana, porcelain figures Meissen 1725-1730 )

Flora Sapio (Comments on the "Zero-Draft"), and I (Making Sausages?: Preliminary Thoughts on the "Zero-Draft") have been considering the challenges posed by the Zero Draft.  But we wanted to dig deeper.  To that end we wanted to avoid the altogether too easy exercise of textual exegesis to suggest the challenges that this draft might construct for itself.

Rather than consider text, or text in light of the various mandates and principles purportedly manifested in the language used to build the Zero Draft, we thought it might be useful to consider text within the context of the initial commentary it might generate among Zero Draft stakeholders motivated enough to make them. These, then, might usefully inform the reading of text, and sharpen analysis of its structure and consequences. 

To that end, and in this and subsequent posts, Flora Sapio  presents summaries of discussions on each article of the Zero Draft, based on the written submissions available on the website of the OEIGWG.  These, then, will be woven together first to develop both a critique of the Zero Draft, and thereafter to suggest the value of an alternative, framework, model for such a project.

These Commentaries form part of a larger Coalition for Peace and Ethics Project on the Effort to Elaborate an International Instrument on Business and Human Rights. Go to CPE Treaty Project Page: HERE.

This Part 10 focuses on Article 4 of the Zero Draft (Definitions) (with China, India, and Mexico's comments quite interesting). 


Ruminations 82: On the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights



Monday, 10 December, is celebrated as Human Rights Day. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  International Organizations, and those individuals and groups who value that document, has sought to make the most of the event.  

This post celebrates the anniversary in a slightly different way. It uses to occasion of the anniversary to consider very briefly three different aspects of the human rights project that might well be now worth a moment of thought. The first of these is the danger of a relentless focus on the rights aspects of the Universal Declaration.  The second is the mania for victimization. The third is the need to re-focus on the obligations of states, other collective actors, and individuals.

I can think of no better way to celebrate the achievement of survival not by eulogizing its past, nor even by contributing to its (potent) mythology, but by considering the ripples it has produced in the organization of relations between individuals and power holders.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

9-Flora Sapio on the Zero Draft of a Legally Binding Instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprise (Article 3 Scope)

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2018; Musée Ariana, porcelain figures Meissen 1725-1730 )

Flora Sapio (Comments on the "Zero-Draft"), and I (Making Sausages?: Preliminary Thoughts on the "Zero-Draft") have been considering the challenges posed by the Zero Draft.  But we wanted to dig deeper.  To that end we wanted to avoid the altogether too easy exercise of textual exegesis to suggest the challenges that this draft might construct for itself.

Rather than consider text, or text in light of the various mandates and principles purportedly manifested in the language used to build the Zero Draft, we thought it might be useful to consider text within the context of the initial commentary it might generate among Zero Draft stakeholders motivated enough to make them. These, then, might usefully inform the reading of text, and sharpen analysis of its structure and consequences. 

To that end, and in this and subsequent posts, Flora Sapio  presents summaries of discussions on each article of the Zero Draft, based on the written submissions available on the website of the OEIGWG.  These, then, will be woven together first to develop both a critique of the Zero Draft, and thereafter to suggest the value of an alternative, framework, model for such a project.

These Commentaries form part of a larger Coalition for Peace and Ethics Project on the Effort to Elaborate an International Instrument on Business and Human Rights. Go to CPE Treaty Project Page: HERE.

This Part 9 focuses on Article 3 of the Zero Draft (Scope). 



“变化世界中的公司”2018 年国际学术研讨会--2018 International Symposium on The Corporation in a Changing World



It is my great delight to participate, for a second year, in the marvelous conference “变化世界中的公司”2018 年国际学术研讨会--2018 International Symposium on The Corporation in a Changing World. The conference is hosted by the China Commercial Law Society, the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics School of Law, East China University of Political Science and Law School of Economic Law and is organized by and the SUFE Law School Commercial Law Center [主办:中国法学会商法学研究会 上海财经大学法学院 华东政法大学经济法学院 承办:上海财经大学法学院商法研究中心 ]. Special recognition for Ezra Mitchell, Professor, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics School of Law [以斯拉·米切尔 上海财经大学法学院教授] for making all of this possible. 
 
This post includes the program and participant lists in 中国语文 and English.  My own remarks will be posted in a few days. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

8-Flora Sapio on the Zero Draft of a Legally Binding Instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprise (Article 12 International Cooperation)

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2018; Musée Ariana, porcelain figures Meissen 1725-1730 )

Flora Sapio (Comments on the "Zero-Draft"), and I (Making Sausages?: Preliminary Thoughts on the "Zero-Draft") have been considering the challenges posed by the Zero Draft.  But we wanted to dig deeper.  To that end we wanted to avoid the altogether too easy exercise of textual exegesis to suggest the challenges that this draft might construct for itself.

Rather than consider text, or text in light of the various mandates and principles purportedly manifested in the language used to build the Zero Draft, we thought it might be useful to consider text within the context of the initial commentary it might generate among Zero Draft stakeholders motivated enough to make them. These, then, might usefully inform the reading of text, and sharpen analysis of its structure and consequences. 

To that end, and in this and subsequent posts, Flora Sapio  presents summaries of discussions on each article of the Zero Draft, based on the written submissions available on the website of the OEIGWG.  These, then, will be woven together first to develop both a critique of the Zero Draft, and thereafter to suggest the value of an alternative, framework, model for such a project.

These Commentaries form part of a larger Coalition for Peace and Ethics Project on the Effort to Elaborate an International Instrument on Business and Human Rights. Go to CPE Treaty Project Page: HERE.

This Part 8 focuses on Article 12 of the Zero Draft (International Cooperation). 



Tuesday, December 04, 2018

““Con el pueblo todo, sin el pueblo nada” [With the people everything, without the people nothing]: The New Mexican President Receives the Bastón de mando [Baton of Authority] from Indigenous Communities and Delivers His 100 Commitments (Spanish With English Translation)




I have been writing about the most interesting speech delivered to the representatives of the Mexican state assembled in Congress at an gathering to which a large number of foreign representatives were also in attendance.  That gathering was both formal and the mandatory performance of the rituals of passages of power within the traditions of the Mexican Republic manifested through its political community as incarnated in its institutions and as recognized by foreign powers.  That last was a mouthful but intentional for all of the caveats and presumptions built into the ceremonies that culminated in President López Obrador's manifesto in the form of an inaugural speech. The text of that speech (in the original Castellano) along with  the briefest of analysis was posted yesterday ("Acabar con la corrupción y con la impunidad"--Text of the Speech delivered by Mexico's New President Andrés Manuel López Obrador en la tribuna del Congreso de la Unión). 

But that event was hardly the most profound or important ceremony parking the passage of power .
Andrés Manuel López Obrador will become the first president to take part in a traditional indigenous cleansing ceremony as part of his inauguration. Representatives of Mexico’s 68 distinct indigenous peoples as well as members of Afro-Mexican groups will hand over a bastón de mando – a staff or baton indicative of authority – to the new president as a show of confidence that he will govern for all citizens and make wise decisions. (Special recognition by indigenous people a sign of confidence in new president).
The ceremony was well documented by local press.  More important, was the speech that was given, the gravamen of which was centered on 100 commitments. These are, even more than the indications of policy and the prisms through which such policies will be analyzed, declared in the formal inaugural address, will point quite specifically to the way that the ideological lens of the new President will shape not just broad policy, but also more precisely, its operationalization.  The speech, Primer Discurso a la Nación del Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos desde el Zócalo de la Ciudad de México (1 Dec. 2018)  and the enfolding ceremony may be viewed and heard here. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR-JWPTp-T0&feature=player_embedded
(click HERE)

The text of the speech follows below in the original Castellano. The reporting (in English) of the ceremony and the English translation of the 100 commitments follows with thanks to the Pressenza International News Agency which posted originally.

The most interesting part of the speech--and its most revealing, is the reference to Benito Juarez's dictum:  “con el pueblo todo, sin el pueblo nada” ["with the people everything, without the people nothing"]. The reason this resonates is because it has been a trope appropriated in quite related and distinct ways by 20th century leaders (Fidel Castro Speech to Intellectuals 1961 ("This means that within the Revolution, everything goes; against the Revolution, nothing."); Benito Mussolini The doctrine of Fascism 1932 ("For the Fascist, everything is within the State; and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value, outside the state")).

The within and the without remains at the center of the 21st century transformations of society. It injects the discourse of all states, whatever their political orientation. For (or with) Mexico, López Obrador has moved the center of that debate from the state, to the revolution, to the people. And now, of course, in all jurisdictions, the question becomes--to where will it migrate, again, when the people are moved to delegate its responsibilities? Better yet, it will return to the fundamental question--who are the people? For that all societies have provided answers that are both fragile and contextual. We will see where that takes the people, the state, and the revolution. There is much to think about here both for the overtones and its trajectories.


7-Flora Sapio on the Zero Draft of a Legally Binding Instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprise (Article 11 Mutual Legal Assistance)

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2018; Musée Ariana, porcelain figures Meissen 1725-1730 )

Flora Sapio (Comments on the "Zero-Draft"), and I (Making Sausages?: Preliminary Thoughts on the "Zero-Draft") have been considering the challenges posed by the Zero Draft.  But we wanted to dig deeper.  To that end we wanted to avoid the altogether too easy exercise of textual exegesis to suggest the challenges that this draft might construct for itself.

Rather than consider text, or text in light of the various mandates and principles purportedly manifested in the language used to build the Zero Draft, we thought it might be useful to consider text within the context of the initial commentary it might generate among Zero Draft stakeholders motivated enough to make them. These, then, might usefully inform the reading of text, and sharpen analysis of its structure and consequences. 

To that end, and in this and subsequent posts, Flora Sapio  presents summaries of discussions on each article of the Zero Draft, based on the written submissions available on the website of the OEIGWG.  These, then, will be woven together first to develop both a critique of the Zero Draft, and thereafter to suggest the value of an alternative, framework, model for such a project.

These Commentaries form part of a larger Coalition for Peace and Ethics Project on the Effort to Elaborate an International Instrument on Business and Human Rights. Go to CPE Treaty Project Page: HERE.

This Part 7 focuses on Article 11 of the Zero Draft (Mutual Legal Assistance). 


Sunday, December 02, 2018

"Acabar con la corrupción y con la impunidad"--Text of the Speech delivered by Mexico's New President Andrés Manuel López Obrador en la tribuna del Congreso de la Unión



Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the new President of Mexico, today delivered a speech in the Mexican Congress as he was sworn in to office. It received the usual sort of coverage in the mainstream media, notable for the adoption of the prism through which all of his actions will be seen in the coming years: Reuters (Mexico new president vows to end 'rapacious' elite); CNN (Mexico swears in new leftist president); Washington Post (The Latest: Mexico's president joins in indigenous ceremony). 

The emphasis of the Western Press, of course, was on those issues that either confirmed pre-judgment, or that might produce the sort of scare mongering that increases "clicks" and related revenues.  For all that the speech was quite important and  worth careful consideration. Yes, of course, he severely criticized prior administrations in language that U.S. voters have become more accustomed to since 2016.  And yes, he blamed what he calls "neoliberalism" for the ills that now beset Mexico, rereading Mexican history in ways that may require greater consideration. His prediction that Mexico can spend within its means without the need for austerity programs, which he correctly viewed as unhelpful, and that the fruits of anti-corruption efforts would significantly increase revenue might reflect more hope than realism. Much of the speech will require careful unpacking and likely some revision in practice--though it made for the sort of "moment" that the Western press would lap up, but in a way that distorted the President's central message rather than in ways that more modestly even sought merely to report it in its entirety accurately.

More important, however, was the quite explicit olive branch he extended to the U.S. administration, the promise of respecting Mexico's national and international obligations, and the commitment to develop Mexico precisely to transform migration from a necessity to a choice. Equally important was the commitment to shift development efforts to the south of the country. He made accusations against the cronyism of prior regimes, but promised to look forward and not to embroil his office in an orgy of investigations (that themselves would replicate the very forms of corruption against which he campaigned). That, by no means suggested anything like an amnesty program, the reverse appears to be true, but his office will at least officially remain unconnected with the investigations of past corruption.

Lastly, and quite heartening, it followed that corruption policy will play a central role in his administration.  Though what that means precisely remains unclear, one was given a taste of what is to come, especially in the objectives of strong anti-corruption efforts.  
Por eso estoy optimista, creo que ya estamos logrando, se está iniciando y ya vamos en el camino de lograr el renacimiento de México, que nos vamos a convertir en una potencia económica y, sobre todo, en un país modelo que habrá de demostrar al mundo que acabar con la corrupción es posible, y así lo haremos, porque de esa manera construiremos una sociedad más justa, democrática, fraterna y siempre alegre. [That is why I am optimistic, I believe that we are already achieving, it is starting and we are already on the road to achieving the rebirth of Mexico, that we are going to become an economic power and, above all, a model country that will have to demonstrate to the world that ending corruption is possible, and we will do it, because in that way we will build a more just, democratic, fraternal and always happy society.]
That focus against corruption ought to be taken seriously, and such efforts ought to be aided by those who have Mexico's best interest at heart. That focus explicitly tied anti-corruption efforts to a commitment to deepen rule of law structures in Mexico, not just for those who could afford it, but to all Mexicans. 

The future will test the new President's view of "neoliberalism" and the path toward reform.  There is much in there that echoes the views of regional neighbors, especially Cuba, with respect to the nature and character of regional integration and national aspirations. But this may not point to a socialist trajectory as much as a nationalist one. That said, careful attention will have to be paid to the consequences, in law and policy,  derived from a quite clear and direct connection that the President made between corruption and privatization, and the indictment of "neoliberalism" in that unhappy union ("El distintivo del neoliberalismo es la corrupción"). Yet his indictment of what he calls "neoliberalism" did not amount to an attack on markets, or on the private sector as such. 

The speech was published in the original Castellano in Processo and follows below. It may be accessed HERE.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

6-Flora Sapio on the Zero Draft of a Legally Binding Instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprise (Article 8 Rights of Victims)

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2018; Musée Ariana, porcelain figures Meissen 1725-1730 )

Flora Sapio (Comments on the "Zero-Draft"), and I (Making Sausages?: Preliminary Thoughts on the "Zero-Draft") have been considering the challenges posed by the Zero Draft.  But we wanted to dig deeper.  To that end we wanted to avoid the altogether too easy exercise of textual exegesis to suggest the challenges that this draft might construct for itself.

Rather than consider text, or text in light of the various mandates and principles purportedly manifested in the language used to build the Zero Draft, we thought it might be useful to consider text within the context of the initial commentary it might generate among Zero Draft stakeholders motivated enough to make them. These, then, might usefully inform the reading of text, and sharpen analysis of its structure and consequences. 

To that end, and in this and subsequent posts, Flora Sapio  presents summaries of discussions on each article of the Zero Draft, based on the written submissions available on the website of the OEIGWG.  These, then, will be woven together first to develop both a critique of the Zero Draft, and thereafter to suggest the value of an alternative, framework, model for such a project.

These Commentaries form part of a larger Coalition for Peace and Ethics Project on the Effort to Elaborate an International Instrument on Business and Human Rights. Go to CPE Treaty Project Page: HERE.

This Part 6 focuses on Article 8 of the Zero Draft (Rights of Victims).