Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Ruminations 89(6) (Metamorphosis): Looking Back on 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms




The year 2019 is ending with the great rifts--opened in 2016, exposed in 2017, and acquiring a greater urgency and revealing the power of its consequences in 2018--now exposed. More than exposed, 2019 marked their explosion, the aftermath of which, in 2020, will be marked by the start of a variety of end games in law, society, politics, culture and economics. Global divisions, more acute in 2018, finally reached moved toward climax in virtually all states, and with respect to all systems--law, compliance, religious, societal, cultural, and economic. While 2020 will likely be the year in which the climax events of 2019 will play themselves out, the year 2019 was in many ways the year of the "big bang" for the third decade of the 21st century.

Indeed, 2019 was rich with rupture-climax events.  But it might also be said that 2019 was as much the year of the anti-climax--that is, the year that events, long anticipated, finally burst fully ripened. That was, of course, the story of the impeachment of President Trump by the US House of Representatives.  But it was also the case with the decoupling of the Chinese and US economies (and note, not their separation or segregation) marked by rupture at the beginning of the year and a first stage arrangement at its end. This was also the year of Brexit, but not just Brexit but of the metaphor of Brexit fro the great inversions of political affiliation that appeared to affect political communities worldwide.  In some sense, this was also the great year of Jew baiting--everyone, it seems, had something to say about the People of Israel, even as their actions usually belied their words.  It was also the year of explosions.  There were explosions in Hong Kong, in Bolivia, in the UK, and in that stew pot that is Syria-Lebanon.  This was also the year of the rise of the core of leadership--in Turkey, Russia, China, the United States, Germany, and France.  When one thinks about 2019 in the future, one will think--climax, explosion, rupture, and revelation.    

With no objective in particular, this post and a number that follow provides my summary of the slice of 2019 to which I paid attention through epigrams and aphorisms.  It follows an end of year  tradition I started in 2016 (for those see here), 2017 (for these see here), and 2018 (for those see here).  

This last, Part (6) (Metamorphosis), frames the year 2019 as itself the incarnation of metamorphosis. It considers 2019 as the year that society changed shape, but perhaps not character; in which it moved from one age to another and in which these trans- and meta- formations became far clearer--especially where attempted by vanguards. These transformations  took all kinds of forms.  What was common to all was the increasingly transparent nature of those transformations. The old patterns of hiding societal transformations behind a (sometimes thin) veil of organic "forward movement" (and movement, at least for for vanguards committed to the practice of societal management, is always forward even if it is meant to take society back to some sort of ideal state) has now been abandoned in large measure.  We have considered its techniques, as well as its religious and quasi religious overtones.  Here we consider its more direct manifestations in 2019, the year of metamorphosis.
 
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Ruminations 89: 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms:
Ruminations 89(1) (Blasphemies).
Ruminations 89(2) (Cults and Cult Objects).
Ruminations 89(3) (Impeachments).
Ruminations 89(4)  (Data, Discretion, and Analytics in the State-Enterprise Complex).
Ruminations 89(5) (The "Jewish Question" as Global Social Ordering)
Ruminations 89(6) (Metamorphosis)

Monday, December 30, 2019

Ruminations 89(5) (The "Jewish Question" as Global Social Ordering): Looking Back on 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms



The year 2019 is ending with the great rifts--opened in 2016, exposed in 2017, and acquiring a greater urgency and revealing the power of its consequences in 2018--now exposed. More than exposed, 2019 marked their explosion, the aftermath of which, in 2020, will be marked by the start of a variety of end games in law, society, politics, culture and economics. Global divisions, more acute in 2018, finally reached moved toward climax in virtually all states, and with respect to all systems--law, compliance, religious, societal, cultural, and economic. While 2020 will likely be the year in which the climax events of 2019 will play themselves out, the year 2019 was in many ways the year of the "big bang" for the third decade of the 21st century.

Indeed, 2019 was rich with rupture-climax events.  But it might also be said that 2019 was as much the year of the anti-climax--that is, the year that events, long anticipated, finally burst fully ripened. That was, of course, the story of the impeachment of President Trump by the US House of Representatives.  But it was also the case with the decoupling of the Chinese and US economies (and note, not their separation or segregation) marked by rupture at the beginning of the year and a first stage arrangement at its end. This was also the year of Brexit, but not just Brexit but of the metaphor of Brexit fro the great inversions of political affiliation that appeared to affect political communities worldwide.  In some sense, this was also the great year of Jew baiting--everyone, it seems, had something to say about the People of Israel, even as their actions usually belied their words.  It was also the year of explosions.  There were explosions in Hong Kong, in Bolivia, in the UK, and in that stew pot that is Syria-Lebanon.  This was also the year of the rise of the core of leadership--in Turkey, Russia, China, the United States, Germany, and France.  When one thinks about 2019 in the future, one will think--climax, explosion, rupture, and revelation.    

With no objective in particular, this post and a number that follow provides my summary of the slice of 2019 to which I paid attention through epigrams and aphorisms.  It follows an end of year  tradition I started in 2016 (for those see here), 2017 (for these see here), and 2018 (for those see here).  

This is Part 5 (The "Jewish Question" as Global Social Ordering) which considers the way that 2019 also saw not the horribly banal "Jewish Question" of a corrupted European order reappear (though it did that certainly in its old homelands), but rather the way that the template for societal ordering that is the "Jewish Question" has now gone global.  The "Jewish Question now finds itself rephrased but applied with as much care in Asia, as it was once central to the ordering of political life in Europe.  The process of political integration--of the viability of hetero-ethnic-religious states--once thought settled after 1945, has re-emerged in both liberal democratic and authoritarian states; it has emerged in both developed and developing states. And it has produced a new globalized set of sensibilities about the integration of political society in which the vision that once animated the victorious Allies after 1945 for a brief moment, has now descended into a transformative and dynamic state the character of which will likely emerge after 2020.     
     
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Ruminations 89: 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms:
Ruminations 89(1) (Blasphemies).
Ruminations 89(2) (Cults and Cult Objects).
Ruminations 89(3) (Impeachments).
Ruminations 89(4)  (Data, Discretion, and Analytics in the State-Enterprise Complex).
Ruminations 89(5) (The "Jewish Question" as Global Social Ordering)
Ruminations 89(6) (Metamorphosis)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Ruminations 89(4) (Data, Discretion, and Analytics in the State-Enterprise Complex): Looking Back on 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms



The year 2019 is ending with the great rifts--opened in 2016, exposed in 2017, and acquiring a greater urgency and revealing the power of its consequences in 2018--now exposed. More than exposed, 2019 marked their explosion, the aftermath of which, in 2020, will be marked by the start of a variety of end games in law, society, politics, culture and economics. Global divisions, more acute in 2018, finally reached moved toward climax in virtually all states, and with respect to all systems--law, compliance, religious, societal, cultural, and economic. While 2020 will likely be the year in which the climax events of 2019 will play themselves out, the year 2019 was in many ways the year of the "big bang" for the third decade of the 21st century.

Indeed, 2019 was rich with rupture-climax events.  But it might also be said that 2019 was as much the year of the anti-climax--that is, the year that events, long anticipated, finally burst fully ripened. That was, of course, the story of the impeachment of President Trump by the US House of Representatives.  But it was also the case with the decoupling of the Chinese and US economies (and note, not their separation or segregation) marked by rupture at the beginning of the year and a first stage arrangement at its end. This was also the year of Brexit, but not just Brexit but of the metaphor of Brexit fro the great inversions of political affiliation that appeared to affect political communities worldwide.  In some sense, this was also the great year of Jew baiting--everyone, it seems, had something to say about the People of Israel, even as their actions usually belied their words.  It was also the year of explosions.  There were explosions in Hong Kong, in Bolivia, in the UK, and in that stew pot that is Syria-Lebanon.  This was also the year of the rise of the core of leadership--in Turkey, Russia, China, the United States, Germany, and France.  When one thinks about 2019 in the future, one will think--climax, explosion, rupture, and revelation.    

With no objective in particular, this post and a number that follow provides my summary of the slice of 2019 to which I paid attention through epigrams and aphorisms.  It follows an end of year  tradition I started in 2016 (for those see here), 2017 (for these see here), and 2018 (for those see here).  

This is Part 4  (Data, Discretion, and Analytics in the Administrative State-Economic Enterprise Complex) which considers 2019 as the year that data driven governance, and the legal management of administrative and political decision making became a political, human rights and trade issue.  One moves here across a broad arc of governance that jumped into popular consciousness even as it remains shrouded in complexity. 2019 brought us both a muscular law that has been used to constrain political decision making in the United States and Britain, and increasing acceptance of governmentalization of the private sector which is increasing governing through data analytics rather than rules. 2019 was the year that liberal democracies embraced more warmly the notion of law as  a constituting element in systems of discretionary decision making. At the same time, the hand wringing about machine governance (through machine learning mechanisms (so-called artificial intelligence)) produced law that was itself a creature of data driven governance.
     
Share your own!

Ruminations 89: 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms:
Ruminations 89(1) (Blasphemies).
Ruminations 89(2) (Cults and Cult Objects).
Ruminations 89(3) (Impeachments).
Ruminations 89(4)  (Data, Discretion, and Analytics in the State-Enterprise Complex).
Ruminations 89(5) (The "Jewish Question" as Global Social Ordering)
Ruminations 89(6) (Metamorphosis)



Saturday, December 28, 2019

Ruminations 89(3) (Impeachments): Looking Back on 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms



The year 2019 is ending with the great rifts--opened in 2016, exposed in 2017, and acquiring a greater urgency and revealing the power of its consequences in 2018--now exposed. More than exposed, 2019 marked their explosion, the aftermath of which, in 2020, will be marked by the start of a variety of end games in law, society, politics, culture and economics. Global divisions, more acute in 2018, finally reached moved toward climax in virtually all states, and with respect to all systems--law, compliance, religious, societal, cultural, and economic. While 2020 will likely be the year in which the climax events of 2019 will play themselves out, the year 2019 was in many ways the year of the "big bang" for the third decade of the 21st century.

Indeed, 2019 was rich with rupture-climax events.  But it might also be said that 2019 was as much the year of the anti-climax--that is, the year that events, long anticipated, finally burst fully ripened. That was, of course, the story of the impeachment of President Trump bu the US House of Representatives.  But it was also the case with the decoupling of the Chinese and US economies (and note, not their separation or segregation) marked by rupture at the beginning of the year and a first stage arrangement at its end. This was also the year of Brexit, but not just Brexit but of the metaphor of Brexit fro the great inversions of political affiliation that appeared to affect political communities worldwide.  In some sense, this was also the great year of Jew baiting--everyone, it seems, had something to say about the People of Israel, even as their actions usually belied their words.  It was also the year of explosions.  There were explosions in Hong Kong, in Bolivia, in the UK, and in that stew pot that is Syria-Lebanon.  This was also the year of the rise of the core of leadership--in Turkey, Russia, China, the United States, Germany, and France.  When one thinks about 2019 in the future, one will think--climax, explosion, rupture, and revelation.    

With no objective in particular, this post and a number that follow provides my summary of the slice of 2019 to which I paid attention through epigrams and aphorisms.  It follows an end of year  tradition I started in 2016 (for those see here), 2017 (for these see here), and 2018 (for those see here).  

This is Part 3 (Impeachments) which considers the profound way in which 2019 brought that word front and center in all its senses.  Of course, there is a special focus here: while the world was chasing the American Dream of that word as ingested within its peculiar political order (and deployed in the American 2nd Civil War that started  its current phase in 2016, that is actually the least interesting impeachment that marked 2016.  Impeachments can be understood in its older senses--to impede, to hinder, to trap, to ensnare.  It draws meaning from the notion of fettering, chaining, shackling, eventually transformed into a stylized performance of "j'accuse" performed by elites for the entertainment of the masses contributing, as well, to the advancement of their own greater glory (both proponents and defenders).

Share your own!

Ruminations 89: 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms:
Ruminations 89(1) (Blasphemies).
Ruminations 89(2) (Cults and Cult Objects).
Ruminations 89(3) (Impeachments).
Ruminations 89(4)  (Data, Discretion, and Analytics in the State-Enterprise Complex).
Ruminations 89(5) (The "Jewish Question" as Global Social Ordering)
Ruminations 89(6) (Metamorphosis)


Friday, December 27, 2019

Ruminations 89(2) (Cults and Their Objects): Looking Back on 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms



The year 2019 is ending with the great rifts--opened in 2016, exposed in 2017, and acquiring a greater urgency and revealing the power of its consequences in 2018--now exposed. More than exposed, 2019 marked their explosion, the aftermath of which, in 2020, will be marked by the start of a variety of end games in law, society, politics, culture and economics. Global divisions, more acute in 2018, finally reached moved toward climax in virtually all states, and with respect to all systems--law, compliance, religious, societal, cultural, and economic. While 2020 will likely be the year in which the climax events of 2019 will play themselves out, the year 2019 was in many ways the year of the "big bang" for the third decade of the 21st century.

Indeed, 2019 was rich with rupture-climax events.  But it might also be said that 2019 was as much the year of the anti-climax--that is, the year that events, long anticipated, finally burst fully ripened. That was, of course, the story of the impeachment of President Trump bu the US House of Representatives.  But it was also the case with the decoupling of the Chinese and US economies (and note, not their separation or segregation) marked by rupture at the beginning of the year and a first stage arrangement at its end. This was also the year of Brexit, but not just Brexit but of the metaphor of Brexit fro the great inversions of political affiliation that appeared to affect political communities worldwide.  In some sense, this was also the great year of Jew baiting--everyone, it seems, had something to say about the People of Israel, even as their actions usually belied their words.  It was also the year of explosions.  There were explosions in Hong Kong, in Bolivia, in the UK, and in that stew pot that is Syria-Lebanon.  This was also the year of the rise of the core of leadership--in Turkey, Russia, China, the United States, Germany, and France.  When one thinks about 2019 in the future, one will think--climax, explosion, rupture, and revelation.    

With no objective in particular, this post and a number that follow provides my summary of the slice of 2019 to which I paid attention through epigrams and aphorisms.  It follows an end of year  tradition I started in 2016 (for those see here), 2017 (for these see here), and 2018 (for those see here).  

This is Part 2 (Cults and their Objects) which considers the centrality of cult and cult worship to the events of 2019.  The rituals of worship, and the practices of its priests surged to the front of mass  consciousness this year.  But this was the year of exposure of the insides of cult, of cult worship, and of the character of the objects of cults, not in the light of its narrative cover but rather exposed in all of their glory, a glory that deviates from the narratives with which they have tended to cover themselves. 2019 was the year of the nakedness of Noah; of the cult of exposure:
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. Gen. 9:20-27 (KJV)
Share your own!


Ruminations 89: 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms:
Ruminations 89(1) (Blasphemies).
Ruminations 89(2) (Cults and Cult Objects).
Ruminations 89(3) (Impeachments).
Ruminations 89(4)  (Data, Discretion, and Analytics in the State-Enterprise Complex).
Ruminations 89(5) (The "Jewish Question" as Global Social Ordering)
Ruminations 89(6) (Metamorphosis)

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Ruminations 89(1) (Blasphemies): Looking Back on 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms



The year 2019 is ending with the great rifts--opened in 2016, exposed in 2017, and acquiring a greater urgency and revealing the power of its consequences in 2018--now exposed. More than exposed, 2019 marked their explosion, the aftermath of which, in 2020, will be marked by the start of a variety of end games in law, society, politics, culture and economics. Global divisions, more acute in 2018, finally reached moved toward climax in virtually all states, and with respect to all systems--law, compliance, religious, societal, cultural, and economic. While 2020 will likely be the year in which the climax events of 2019 will play themselves out, the year 2019 was in many ways the year of the "big bang" for the third decade of the 21st century.

Indeed, 2019 was rich with rupture-climax events.  But it might also be said that 2019 was as much the year of the anti-climax--that is, the year that events, long anticipated, finally burst fully ripened. That was, of course, the story of the impeachment of President Trump bu the US House of Representatives.  But it was also the case with the decoupling of the Chinese and US economies (and note, not their separation or segregation) marked by rupture at the beginning of the year and a first stage arrangement at its end. This was also the year of Brexit, but not just Brexit but of the metaphor of Brexit fro the great inversions of political affiliation that appeared to affect political communities worldwide.  In some sense, this was also the great year of Jew baiting--everyone, it seems, had something to say about the People of Israel, even as their actions usually belied their words.  It was also the year of explosions.  There were explosions in Hong Kong, in Bolivia, in the UK, and in that stew pot that is Syria-Lebanon.  This was also the year of the rise of the core of leadership--in Turkey, Russia, China, the United States, Germany, and France.  When one thinks about 2019 in the future, one will think--climax, explosion, rupture, and revelation.    

With no objective in particular, this post and a number that follow provides my summary of the slice of 2019 to which I paid attention through epigrams and aphorisms.  It follows an end of year  tradition I started in 2016 (for those see here), 2017 (for these see here), and 2018 (for those see here).  

This is Part 1 (Blasphemies) in which it is possible to consider the growing centrality of blasphemy in the ruptures that marked the fracturing global order. In a world grown rich on large markets for belief, and fearful of the threats to the integrity of each, the issue of impiety--of insulting the gods, however they may constructed or deployed--has moved to center stage.  Share your own!


Ruminations 89: 2019 in Epigrams and Aphorisms:
Ruminations 89(1) (Blasphemies).
Ruminations 89(2) (Cults and Cult Objects).
Ruminations 89(3) (Impeachments).
Ruminations 89(4)  (Data, Discretion, and Analytics in the State-Enterprise Complex).
Ruminations 89(5) (The "Jewish Question" as Global Social Ordering)
Ruminations 89(6) (Metamorphosis)


Friday, December 20, 2019

Just Published: "Accountability, International Business Operations and the Law: Providing Justice for Corporate Human Rights Violations in Global Value Chains"




The book's essays make important contributions to that emerging critical area of the law of accountability. In its own words:
A consensus has emerged that corporations have societal and environmental responsibilities when operating transnationally. However, how exactly corporations can be held legally accountable for their transgressions, if at all, is less clear.

This volume inquires how regulatory tools stemming from international law, public law, and private law may or may not be used for transnational corporate accountability purposes. Attention is devoted to applicable standards of liability, institutional and jurisdictional issues, and practical challenges, with a focus on ways to improve the existing legal status quo. In addition, there is consideration of the extent to which non-legal regulatory instruments may complement or provide more viable alternatives to these legal mechanisms. The book combines legal doctrinal approaches with comparative, interdisciplinary, and policy insights with the dual aim of furthering the legal scholarly debate on these issues and enabling higher quality decision-making by policymakers seeking to implement regulatory measures that enhance corporate accountability in this context. Through its study of contemporary developments in legislation and case law, it provides a timely and important contribution to the scholarly and sociopolitical debate in the fast evolving field of international corporate social responsibility and accountability.
Accountability, International Business Operations and the Law's essays are divided into four sections: (1) General Perspectives; (2) Accountability through International Law Mechanisms; (3) Accountability through Domestic Public Law Mechanisms; and (4) Accountability through Domestic Private Law Mechanisms.

The Post includes information about the book contents and the Globalization: Law and Policy Series.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

UN Forum on Business and Human Rights: Feedback; Dates of 9th Forum (2020); Web Links to 8th Forum Activities



The Secretariat of the Forum for Business and Human Rights have posted the following information.  Most important, perhaps, SAVE THE DATE--the 9th UN Forum for Business and Human Rights is scheduled for 16-18 November 2020. 

The following is included below: (1) Forum feedback (with link to survey); (2) Forum videos, photos, statements and a summary report; and (3) information about the 9th (2020) Forum. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

José Antonio Alonso and Pavel Vidal on "La Reforma Económica en Cuba: Atrapada en el Medio" (Working Paper Foro Europa-Cuba; November 2019)




I am delighted to announce the publication of a quite interesting working paper authored by José Antonio Alonso (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) and Pavel Vidal (Pontifica Universidad Javeriana de Calí)--La Reforma económica en Cuba; atrapado en el medio [Cuban Economic Reform: Trapped in the Middle] Foro Europa-Cuba (Jean Monnet Network) Working Paper Vol. 01 (Nov. 2019).

Alonso and Vidal take on an analysis of the pathways to reform of the Cuban economic model.  They conclude that the pathways of Cuban economic reform remains a severely challenged precisely because it is trapped within oscillations between Cuba's Fidelista past and its Raulist present. In their own words (with my crude translation):
El presente trabajo pretende ofrecer algunas interpretaciones y evidencias que ayuden a res- paldar los argumentos ofrecidos en esta introducción. Es claro que Cuba ha pasado de una larga primera etapa en la que se entendían las reformas como un mal necesario, pero reversible (entre 1990 y 2008), a otra en la que las reformas se conciben como deseables, aunque se carece de una concepción integral del proceso y de una secuencia de cambio suficientemente dinámica. El miedo a los costes que las reformas comportan (en muy diversos ámbitos, también en el político) ha hecho que la definición de un marco integral de reformas y del escenario al que conduce a la economía cubana se posponga una y otra vez. Es importante que se cierre también esta etapa y la reforma se contemple con la ambición propia de un programa de acción simultáneo e integral. Las reformas en unos ámbitos requieren de acciones en otros si se quieren que rindan frutos. Aunque se reco- nozca el valor de la prudencia, el carácter fragmentario de las acciones tiene sus costes. A base de secuenciar y parcializar en exceso las medidas adoptadas se ha conducido a la economía cubana a una situación indeseable, en donde ni rige la lógica del pasado, ni se ha permitido que prospere una nueva lógica económica. Diríamos que Cuba, desde hace ya años, aparece en tierra de nadie, atrapada en el medio de un proceso de cambio (stuck in the middle), quizá la peor de las opciones.
[This paper intends to offer some interpretations and evidence that help support the arguments offered in this introduction. It is clear that Cuba has passed beyond a long first stage in which reforms were understood as a necessary, but reversible evil (between 1990 and 2008), to another in which reforms are conceived as desirable, although it lacks an integral conception of the process and a sequence of change that is sufficiently dynamic. The fear of the costs that the reforms entail (in many different fields, also in the political one) has led to the postponement, again and again, of a definition of an integral framework of reforms and of the stages through which the Cuban economy must be led. It is important that this stage is also closed and that the project of reform be approached with the ambition appropriate for a program of simultaneous and integral action. Reforms in some areas require actions in others if they are to pay off. Although the value of prudence is recognized, the fragmentary nature of action has its costs. Based on the sequencing and partialization of the measures adopted, the Cuban economy has been led to an undesirable situation, where neither the logic of the past nor the new economic logic has been allowed to prosper. We would say that Cuba, for years, appears to be caught in no man's land, caught in the middle of a process of change (stuck in the middle), perhaps the worst of the options.

Alonso and Vidal fill in an important gap in the literature about the trajectories of Cuban economic reform.  Their analysis of fracture and its conseqeunces over the course of over a decade of serious reform efforts is enlightening.
Al fragmentar y parcializar las reformas, se impide que las adoptadas desplieguen todo su potencial, por carecer del efecto complementario que hubiese provenido de otras reformas no ejecutadas. Como consecuencia, no se logra que la economía se sume a un proceso continuado de crecimiento, lo que obliga al Estado a adoptar medidas paliativas, que acentúan la tendencia hacia los desequilibrios macroeconómicos. A su vez, la corrección de esos desequilibrios obliga a adoptar políticas de tono recesivo, que hacen más difíciles las reformas. Salir de este círculo vicioso comporta adoptar una política ambiciosa e integral de reformas, que defina con precisión un calendario y un escenario de llegada.” [By fragmenting and partializing the reforms, those adopted are prevented from realizing their full potential, because they lack the complementary effect that would have come from other reforms not implemented. As a consequence, the economy cannot enjoy a continuous process of growth, which then forces the State to adopt palliative measures, which then accentuates the tendency towards macroeconomic imbalances. In turn, the correction of these imbalances forces the adoption of recessive policies, which make reforms more difficult. Exiting this vicious circle means adopting an ambitious and comprehensive policy of reforms, which precisely defines a timetable and stages for its achievement.”]
But that is the problem, of course.  Economic reform in Cuba is impossible without confronting the problem of the conceptualization of the political economic model. They provide the concrete manifestation of the conundrum that is the product of the fundamental battle within the Cuban Communist Party respecting the political-economic model and its animating theory that has confronted the Cuban political model since Raul Castro started his reforms with the Lineamientos project, a subject about which I have written before (see here, here, and here). The economic vicious circle, so well examined by Alonso and Vidal precisely mirror the political vicious circle from out of which Cuba's Caribbean Marxism has yet to find an exit.

The Working Paper makes for rich reading. The Introduction to the Working Paper (Spanish (Castellano) only) follows.  The paper may be accessed here (pdf). 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Voices From the 2019 South-South Human Rights Forum Organized by the Chinese State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs--Human Rights as Development?





The 2019 South-South Human Rights Forum, organized by the Chinese State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was held in Beijing, China December 10-11, 2019.The English language press release provided by the Xinhua News Agency and reported by MSN, described the event in these terms:
2019 South-South Human Rights Forum builds consensus among developing countries

The 2019 South-South Human Rights Forum is held in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

BEIJING, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- The 2019 South-South Human Rights Forum was held in Beijing from Tuesday to Wednesday. Attendees from home and overseas carried out in-depth exchanges and reached consensus based on the forum's theme "Diversity of Civilizations and Global Development of Human Rights."

Primary topics covered by the forum included "Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind and Global Human Rights Governance," "The Right to Development: The Belt and Road Initiative Promotes the Realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" and "The Practice and Experience of Human Rights Protection in the Countries of Global South."

The 2019 South-South Human Rights Forum was acclaimed by attendees as an important platform to promote the development and human rights progress of developing countries.

The forum was organized by the State Council Information Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. More than 300 officials, experts, scholars and diplomats from over 80 countries, regions and international organizations attended the forum. ■

The Forum seemed to allude (if only in the wispiest terms) to the much better known UN Business and Human Rights Forum, the theme of the 8th celebration of which had been--"Time to act: Governments as catalysts for business respect for human rights." The UN Forum had been held the third week of November (for my observations see here Part 1; Part 2).

The contrast between the two Forums were noticeable in the longer description of the South South Forum provided (in Chinese) on the South South Forum Website. Singapore based CNA (an English language Asian news network) was critical but in the process exposed the fissures that are beginning to divide two distinct conversations about human rights in globalization;
BEIJING: China is ramping up a global campaign to promote its own vision of human rights, inviting the likes of North Korea and Syria to a forum on the topic and drafting other countries to back its policies at the UN. Western nations have condemned China's rights record, including a security crackdown that has detained an estimated one million mostly Muslim minorities in re-education camps in northwest Xinjiang region. China is responding with an increasingly strong counter-narrative, which emphasises security and economic development over civil and political freedoms. "The people of each country all have the right to decide for themselves their human rights development path," Chinese vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu told delegates at a summit on the issue this week. Attendees at the "South-South human rights forum" included representatives from North Korea, Pakistan and Syria - three countries with their own chequered human rights records. One of the speakers at the forum was a political adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, who has been accused of a series of chemical attacks and indiscriminate bombings of civilian targets in Syria's civil war. (China ramps up campaign to redefine 'human rights')
The criticism, of course, is both accurate and misses the mark. It is true enough that the South-South Human Rights Forum might have been larded with "rejectionist" states.  At the same time, rejectionism itself suggests the possibility of the construction of a counter-narrative.  That counter-narrative means little if it comes from Damascus.  It might well count for more if it is developed under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and its state apparatus.

This post considers some of the scope and implications of some of the differences between the "standard" human rights narrative overseen by the U.N. apparatus in Geneva and (sometimes) New York, and what may be emerging from South-South conversations under the leadership of China. It starts with my own brief reflections on the South-South Forum and then includes links to and translations of some of the key materials on the South South Human Rights Forum Website from which the reflections are drawn.  The materials that follow include the original Chinese along with some crude English translations.

For those interested in specific conceptions of the integrity of Human rights as a global concept, and on the movements toward fracture, which appear to mirror the fracture of global trade along regional lines, the materials below might be helpful. Particularly useful may be the emerging concretions of Human Rights from the Chinese side, hints of which might be gleaned by the speeches of the high officials who attended the Beijing event.



Saturday, December 14, 2019

Just Published: Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice; Special Section on Corporate Social Responsibility (Vanisha Sukdeo, ed.)



I am pleased to pass along notice of the publication of the  newest issue of the Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice, which has just been posted and available online. It s particularly noteworthy for its special section on Corporate Social Responsibility which was guest edited by the marvelous Vanisha Sukdeo. Contributions include Benjamin J. Richardson's incisive consideration of the green illusions of business communications;   Fenner L. Stewart's call for CSR to embrace the normative guidance of civic republicanism; Janet Austin, Sulette Lombard's examination of the impacts of whistleblowng programs on corporate governance; and Carol Liao, Elsir U. Tawfik, Pat Teichreb's consideration of the global social enterprise lawmaking phenomenon. Each is worth a careful read together they suggest the emerging complexities of multi-vector frameworks for managing the effects of business activity embedded in complex legal and social ecologies.



Vanisha Sukdeo is a lawyer, Course Director, and Ph.D. Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School. Vanisha was Called to the Ontario Bar in 2007. She received her LL.M. from Osgoode, LL.B. from Queen’s University and her Bachelor of Arts from York University where she majored in Political Science. Vanisha is the author of two books with Routledge and has a forthcoming book with LexisNexis.

The Links to the articles follow along with Ms. Sukdeo's Introduction. The Index with links may be accessed HERE.




Thursday, December 12, 2019

Digital Text of the Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration Now Available for Download Free



In a prior post I announced the official  launch The Hague Rules at a symposium hosted by the PCA in the Peace Palace in The Hague. Judge Bruno Simma will hand over the first copies to Dr. Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Human Rights Ambassador of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ms. Saskia Bruines, Alderman of the City of The Hague.

The Hague Rules are based on the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (with new article 1, paragraph 4, as adopted in 2013) (the “UNCITRAL Rules”), with modifications needed to address certain issues likely to arise in the context of business and human rights disputes.  That is both their great strength and the source of their weakness.

The Symposium was held today and its participants advanced the best case for the adoption of the Hague Rules. They also discussed remaioning challenges and the steps that must be taken to advance the embrace of the Hague rules by states, enterprises and by rights holders.

The digital version of Hague Rules may now be downloaded. Please click on the image below to access The Hague Rules.



The Foreword and Introductory Note follow below. 











Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Reflections on the 8th U.N. Forum on Business and Human Rights--Part II, "'Falling in Love Again:' 'Smart Mixes' and the De-Centering of the State Within Private Compliance Governance Orders"




I was delighted to have been able to attend a portion of the 8th UN Forum for Business and Human Rights.  I have been reflecting on the lessons learned and the directions toward which that great assembly of states, enterprises, NGOs and academics would have us all journey.

That journey, of course, was wrapped up nicely in the 2019 Forum theme--Time to act: Governments as catalysts for business respect for human rights. For me, the theme produced a substantial irony, an irony that serves as the focus of the brief comments offered here on the state of the art in business and human rights and the perversity that it appears to foster as it lumbers along propelled by its own quite incomprehensible internal logic (at worst perhaps comprehensible in the sense that it fails to understand the consequences of the choices it appears to favor). It reminds us that ideological stances produce some time quite absurd results. And absurdity was the order of the day, at least for the positions taken by some of the leading states in this field.

My brief reflections are divided into two parts.

Part I (Reflections on the 8th U.N. Forum on Business and Human Rights--Part I, "Does Lesotho Exist?") was published first. It considered drive toward the legalization of the 2nd Pillar corporate responsibility actually produces a new sort of imperial system with human rights at its center and a confederation of --wait for it--states which formed the family of "civilized nations" as they were constituted in 1900 again appear take a leading position. For all other states there is, well, nothing.  They disappear in the shadows of the sunshine cast by this Olympian cartel of states.  The irony that appears to emerge out pf the 8th Forum in this respect that the drive to center the state actually divides states into those that count and those that are slated, effectively, for oblivion--resurrected only when necessary to hide the reality that the system of horizontal parity among states created after 1945 is being substantially transformed. Make no mistake, is not about Western privilege (though that trope is always useful in the corridors of Geneva, and New York or wherever it is deemed useful to manufacture a strategic reality for the voting masses); rather it is about power--the divide is between rich states from which global production is controlled or centered, and those states (the rest) whose people and resources serve them.  And in the process, those serving states lose effectively their coherence as states (resurrected only for the photo-op sessi0ns that the UN system can ably arrange.

This Part 2--('Falling in Love Again:' 'Smart Mixes' and the De-Centering of the State Within Private Compliance Governance Orders') considers how the framework for this emerging imperium actually has a far more interesting effect. The effect becomes more interesting when measured against the objectives expressed in the 8th Forum's theme. One would think, on the basis of the expected consequences of the building of vertically arranged power structures in which principal states oversee the economic activities (through their instrumentalities) of activities undertaken by them throughout their production chains, that the Forum theme would thereby be furthered.  Here, at last, one might expect to see fulfilled the objectives that these states (and and dominant society intelligentsia) had sought for a long time. That would be a regulatory structure driven by the law of the most powerful states and enforced through their judicial structures, now serving the higher cause of (still badly defined) international human rights.

Yet, rather than returning power to the human rights imperial cartel states, it has the effect of dissipating that authority.  States, effectively incapable of actually managing human rights through law, transform the role of law as a constituting element of legal orders that are actually delegated to enterprises (or better put delegated to the global production chains). As a consequence, the state itself disappears within the logic of the structures of its own approach to law into the vast data driven compliance machinery that the vanguard states have been furiously constructing (with the complicity of the largest enterprises) over the last generation.

My object remains the same as in Part I--to briefly sketch out one of the great absurdities of the current approach to the regulation of business and human rights--the great campaign of national regulation the results of which accelerate the process of privatizing law by governmentalizing the largest enterprises--delegating to them the functional  role of the state in the management of the human rights effects of economic activities within global production.  Perhaps that is as it should be. I have certainly been arguing this position since before many of the current crop of elite influence leaders learned to connect state-enterprise-human rights (e.g., From Moral Obligation to International Law; Geo. J. Int'l L 39(4):591-653 (2008)).  But in the process, and in an effort--essentially reactionary--to revitalize the state as the source of control, and law as the language and structure through which such obligations are implemented, these "leading forces" of human rights change have essentially produced a mechanism through which the core power of the state will be obliterated, all the while preserving an increasingly fragile facade of state power.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Launch of The Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights Arbitration 12 December 2019












On 12 December 2019, Judge Bruno Simma and the Drafting Team of The Hague Rules on Business and Human Rights will officially launch The Hague Rules at a symposium hosted by the PCA in the Peace Palace in The Hague. Judge Bruno Simma will hand over the first copies to Dr. Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Human Rights Ambassador of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ms. Saskia Bruines, Alderman of the City of The Hague. Do not worry if you are unable to attend the symposium, as you can also get a digital version of The Hague Rules here! Please click on the image below to access The Hague Rules.


The Symposium Program follows along with information developed by its makers.


Sunday, December 08, 2019

Reflections on the 8th U.N. Forum on Business and Human Rights--Part I, "Does Lesotho Exist?"



I was pleased to have been able to attend a portion of the 8th Annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.  Perhaps because it has become fashionable to trash all things Americans, with the complicity of some sector off the American intelligentsia, the Forum this year took place immediately before the US Thanksgiving holiday, which requited some to make a difficult choice between public duty and family life.  One hopes that a greater sensitivity will be exercised in future years and that the choice e this year was the product of difficult choices among unpalatable alternatives. In any case many of us were able to attend at least the first 2 of the 3 days reserved for the conference.

Relevant U.N. officials with authority over these matters describe the function of the UN Forum in these terms:
The UN annual Forum on Business and Human Rights is the global platform for stock-taking and lesson-sharing on efforts to move the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from paper to practice. As the world’s foremost gathering in this area, it provides a unique space for dialogue between governments, business, civil society, affected groups and international organizations on trends, challenges and good practices in preventing and addressing business-related human rights impacts. The first Forum was held in 2012. It attracts more than 2,000 experts, practitioners and leaders for three days of an action- and solution-oriented dialogue.
The theme of the Forum this year was an important one--Time to act: Governments as catalysts for business respect for human rights. For me, the theme produced a substantial irony, an irony that serves as the focus of the brief comments offered here on the state of the art in business and human rights and the perversity that it appears to foster as it lumbers along propelled by its own quite incomprehensible internal logic (at worst perhaps comprehensible in the sense that it fails to understand the consequences of the choices it appears to favor). It reminds us that ideological stances produce some time quite absurd results. And absurdity was the order of the day, at least for the positions taken by some of the leading states in this field.

What follows includes my brief reflections on one portion of the Forum. It is divided into two parts.

This part considers drive toward the legalization of the 2nd Pillar corporate responsibility actually produces a new sort of imperial system with human rights at its center and a confederation of --wait for it--states which formed the family of "civilized nations" as they were constituted in 1900 again appear take a leading position. For all other states there is, well, nothing.  They disappear in the shadows of the sunshine cast by this Olympian cartel of states.

Part 2 (Reflections on the 8th U.N. Forum on Business and Human Rights--Part II, "'Falling in Love Again:' 'Smart Mixes' and the De-Centering of the State Within Private Compliance Governance Orders") then considers how the framework for this imperium actually has a far more interesting effect. Rather than returning power to the human rights imperial cartel states, it has the effect of dissipating that authority.  States, effectively incapable of actually managing human rights through law, transform the role of law as a constituting element of legal orders that are actually delegated to enterprises (or better put delegated to the global production chains). As a consequence, the state itself will disappear  within the logic of the structures of its own approach to law into the vast data driven compliance machinery that the vanguard states have been furiously constructing (with the complicity of the largest enterprises) over the last generation.

My object is to briefly sketch out one of the great absurdities of the current approach to the regulation of business and human rights--the great campaign of national regulation the results of which accelerate the process of privatizing law by governmentalizing the largest enterprises--delegating to them the functional  role of the state in the management of the human rights effects of economic activities within global production.  Perhaps that is as it should be.  But in the process, and in an effort--essentially reactionary--to revitalize the state as the source of control, and law as the language and structure through which such obligations are implemented, these "leading forces" of human rights change have essentially produced a mechanism through which the core power of the state will be obliterated, all the while preserving an increasingly fragile facade of state power.   

Additionally I have posted below the Summary of the report of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights to the General Assembly, October 2018 (A/73/163)   In addition, the Report by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights may be accessed here – "Policy coherence in government action to protect against business-related human rights abuses"


Friday, December 06, 2019

习近平 坚持、完善和发展中国特色社会主义国家制度与法律制度 [Xi Jinping: "Adhere to, improve and develop the socialist state system and legal system with Chinese characteristics"]




The process of developing New Era Through is proceeding at an accelerated pace. I have already written about its effects in the work of the Vanguard Party to contribute to the construction of there ideal Socialist Society, Socialist Culture, Socialist Education and the ideal socialist citizen.

These all represent important transition in the development of the Chinese economic-political-moral model. At its center is the baseline insight of New Era thinking: that China has moved to a stage in its historical development where the process of going out and emancipating the mind has reached its fullest development. As a consequence the New Era requires China to take what it has learned to to use it to build its own system which are true to its context and political model. And from that it will be time for China not to receive knowledge form outside but to present its more fully developed Socialist model to the world. This has become very clear from both the publications and statements of leading CCP organs, but in the focus of the work of the leading elements and organs of official CCP intellectual development as well.


In that context, Xi Jinping is playing an increasingly decisive role. That role appears now targeted to the leading organs for the debates of the intelligentsia in producing knowledge useful to the CCP's project of moving its political-economic model forward into the New Era. Principal among then now appears to be 《求是》[“Qiú shì”], Seeking Truth, a journal widely circulated amongst high-level Communist Party officials. The title originates from the quote shí shì qiú shì (实事求是), which means "seeking truth from facts".

On 1 December Qiu She again published in essay form an address given by Xi Jinping during the 17th collective study of the 19th Central Political Bureau on September 24, 2019, immediately before Fourth Plenary Session of the Nineteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, a meeting whose communique is also worth a careful read (see my observations here). That essay, 习近平 坚持、完善和发展中国特色社会主义国家制度与法律制度 [Xi Jinping: "Adhere to, improve and develop the socialist state system and legal system with Chinese characteristics"] adds an important element to the construction of New Era Thought. Here Xi Jinping turns from the construction of moral and cultural baselines to the structuring of the institutional apparatus of the state and party.

The essay in the original Chinese and a crude English translation follows along with brief comments.


Thursday, December 05, 2019

From the Norwegian Pension Fund Global: Norges Bank Revokes Observation of Petrobras



The officials at the Norwegian Pension Fund Global recently announced that Norges Bank has decided to revoke the observation of Petroleo Brasileiro SA. That was based on a a determination of the Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) of 13 November 2019 that Petrobras be removed from the list of companies it has under observation.

The announcement noted:
Petrobras has been under observation since 2016. The Council on Ethics recommended that Petrobras be placed under observation in 2015 after revelations that senior executives at the company and its most important suppliers had for a decade operated a system in which the payment of bribes was a prerequisite for winning contracts with Petrobras. Investigations into some of these cases remains ongoing. Despite the risk inherent in the fact that the Brazilian government, as the controlling shareholder, appoints a majority of Petrobras’s board members, the Council considers that the risk of corruption in the company has decreased. This assessment rests partly on the legal settlement entered into with the US Department of Justice which confirms that Petrobras has implemented wide-ranging improvement measures since the investigations commenced in 2014, and that it has undertaken to report on the further implementation of its compliance programme and internal control measures each year until 2021. The Council would also like to point out that Brazil’s federal prosecution service and supreme court have officially defined Petrobras as a victim in the Lava Jato investigation, and that the company is therefore assisting the prosecuting authorities in many ongoing criminal proceedings.
In prior posts I had suggested my disquiet with the observation decision--Incoherence or Discretion in Corruption and Investment Approaches?--The Norwegian Pension Fund Global Places Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) under observation.  The issues, of course, revolve around the failure of the Norges Bank and of the Ethics Council to develop any sort of rationalization of its decisions in the area of corruption.  The ad hoc approach has suggested in its long arc of development from Siemens to Chinese companies one the past decades a surprising willingness to rely on pragmatic decision making grounded in the almost ritualistic invocation of its standard. Now one sees in the current decision yet more pragmatism. Not that pragmatism is bad.  But that is hardly a way to build an autonomous and useful jurisprudential guide to conduct.  More importantly, it suggests the growing importance of extra-legal compliance over legal standards and as the principal approach to managing behavior. It is only a short step from there to the substitution of an administrative discretion based system of compliance management and reward for the traditional structures and framework of law.  And it is only a small step from that to ratings based governance grounded in the analytics of compliance.  At that point, ironically enough, both the Ethics Council and the Norges Bank will no longer be necessary in the administration of the Ethics Guidelines.  

 Access the Council’s recommendation HERE and below. Access the Norges Banks’s press release HERE and below.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Sun Ping on “Beyond Security: What Kind of Data Protection Law Should China Make?” Paper and Presentation at the 8th Asian Constitutional Law Forum, “Asian Constitutional Law: Recent Developments and Trends” Hanoi, Vietnam







In the 1970s Michel Foucault oracularly suggested that contemporary politics and society would be transformed in a peculiar way. He predicted the end of the individual and of the effective approach to individual autonomy in liberal democratic societies. In its place, political societies would aggregate the individual into masses—what he called “population.” These aggregations of individuals would be incarnated through the process of transforming them from abstractions to “statistics.” Statistics was understood as the rationalization of masses of data produced by the components of population to produce from out of its organization, the body of the masses. Population, then, through statistics, could reduce the individual to a subcomponent of the only politically potent stakeholder in political society—the mass.

Foucault anticipated much of what a generation later emerged as the development of data drive governance in the West and social credit regimes in Marxist-Leninist societies. I have suggested the effects of this trajectory on the individual—as the opposite side of the effects predicted by Foucault in his consideration of bio-politics. Here the individual is at the center of “statistics.” (“Next Generation Law, accessed here). He and she are stripped of their autonomy and corporeality and become nothing more than the generator of a lifetime stream of data. This stream of data is then the means through which the once autonomous individual is reconstituted as the aggregation of the stream of data they produced—judged in relation to the streams of data produced in the network of interrelated data streams of those with whom they interact. 

Sun Ping, Associate Researching Professor at the School of Law, East China University of Political Science and Law, has been producing some important and insightful work in this area. He has been focusing research on the consequences for law and society bent on the construction of this sort of “data” person. While is specific focus is China, the insights are quite compelling for the parallel developments of data society elsewhere. He recently presented his current research, “Beyond Security: What Kind of Data Protection Law Should China Make?” at the 8th Asian Constitutional Law Forum, “Asian Constitutional Law: Recent Developments and Trends” 6th and 7th December 2019, La Thanh hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam.

The paper is well worth reading. The Abstract and introduction follow along with information about the 8th ASLF. Please contact Professor Sun for a full copy of the paper.