Towards a Sustainable Global Economic Law: Shifts, Ruptures and Social Justice

16-17 December 2021

What should ‘sustainable global economic law’ (SGEL) look like in the context of looming ecological catastrophe, wild levels of inequality and wealth concentration, and strong demands for social, racial and gender and environmental justice? Law provides the very infrastructure that sustains capitalism, which is inextricably linked to politically-sanctioned, large-scale destruction of nature, expropriation and the production of inequalities, and yet law is also needed to address historical disadvantages and social exclusion, protect planetary resources and constrain public and private power.

The goal of this conference is to interrogate the role of global economic law–a myriad of interlocking public/private, domestic/international legal regimes which together structure the global economy–in the simultaneous (re)production of gendered, racial and class-based inequalities, and environmental disasters, and how the concept of ‘sustainability’ can be (re)claimed to address social and environmental justice issues.

We will address some of the following questions: 

  • How does global economic law shape our representations of the economic/non-economic divide? How does it construct “value” and “nature”? 
  • What are the legal institutions central to understanding global capitalism’s distributive effects? 
  • What is the meaning of “sustainability”? How does it relate to social and environmental justice concerns?
  • What are the values, institutions, practices and actors of a “sustainable global economic law”? What are SGEL’s vocabularies? 

The conference is imagined as a series of exploratory interdisciplinary conversations which tackle issues of SGEL’s methods, scales, governance, substantive rules and distributive effects in a way that maps out unknowns, sparks debates and reveals conflicts. It will also feature two workshops where participants can get feedback on their works-in-progress (see the call for contributions).

For the program and registration, please click here.