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« Zimbabwe's misery | Main | Measuring Law and Institutions Redux »

February 6, 2008

Financial Globalization and Human Rights

The University of Illinois College of Law and the American Bar Foundation have launched a new Center for Law and Globalization. More on that anon, but for now I want to announce a Colloqium sponsored by the Center, to be held at the University of Chicago Law School on February 16.  All are welcome!

The theme is Financial Globalization and Human Rights: Defining the Agenda. 

The colloquium will be based around a series of guided conversations.  There will not be formal presentations.  Instead, participants will be invited to comment on the issues under discussion, pose questions to other participants, and suggest potential areas of research.  We hope that participants will bring their experience and research to bear on the topics that will occupy us.  Although we do not wish to unduly limit the discussion, we have prepared a series of questions and topics that we hope will generate fruitful ideas and discussion.  Throughout our discussion, we hope to focus not only on legal issues, but also on the likely outcomes of global change for local people in poor countries.

       We have identified several readings, mostly from the popular press, to help set the stage for our discussions.  We also hope that participants will identify other readings and research that might be of interest to the group.

       We hope to produce, for each of these topic areas, a set of research questions that can guide future work and practice.  The emphasis is on assessing both the state of knowledge as well as what we don’t yet know.  We also hope to identify key parameters that are likely to shape alternative future scenarios.

9:00 am:             Welcome and Introduction of participants

9:15 a.m.-10:45 a.m.  Complex Finance, Development and Human Rights

                Has private capital, in the form of sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, and financial markets, rendered public capital from sources like the World Bank irrelevant to international development?  What effects might the availability of opaque financial channels have on responsible development and human rights in capital-receiving countries?

HRW Report:  Burma: Foreign Investment Finances Regime

Download economist_assetbackedinsecurity.pdf

Download sovereign_wealth_funds.pdf

11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  Project Finance

            When states and firms make deals for large-scale development projects, what are the implications for state sovereignty?  What are the likely social consequences of development projects funded by sources discussed in Session 1?  How do local communities involve themselves in the transaction?

Stabilization Clauses for Project investors

Download corporate_social_responsibility.pdf

Download Oil_and_mining_in_violent_places.pdf

Download global_witness_on_mittal_in_liberia.pdf

Download global_witness_on_mittal_update.pdf

12:30-1:30        Lunch

1:30-3:00 p.m. The Resource Curse and the Growing Financial Power of Autocracies

                Why do states that rely heavily on revenue from the sale of natural resources seem to be less democratic and have worse human rights practices than other states?  Can Western consumers affect such practices?    Has the proliferation of complex finance vehicles and the increasing ability of autocratic governments to fund their activities without assistance from international bodies made a fourth wave of democracy less likely?

Escaping from the Resource Curse (intro and conclusion)

HRW Report: Burma's Gem Trade and Human Rights Abuses

HRW Report: Burma: Foreign Oil and Gas Investors Shore Up Junta

Download financial_times_oil_in_africa.pdf

Optional further readings:

Download eg_nyt_article.doc

Download fools_gold__faris_fp.doc

Download six_questions_for_nicholas_shaxson_on_african_oil_and_american_foreign_policy.doc

Download tyler_cohen_on_collier_book.doc

February 6, 2008 | Permalink

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