Global Economic Justice
Professor Cian Murphy (The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London) and Professor Alvaro Santos (Georgetown Law)
'the economic narrative of recent years has been driven by dry technical concerns; for example, by calculations that are abstract and not drawn from real problems, geared primarily by a consideration of the impact of such measures on speculative markets, rather than driven by sufficient compassion and empathy with the predicament of [our] citizens'
- Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland
Speech to European Parliament, 17 April 2013
'the distribution of wealth is too important an issue to be left to economists, sociologists, historians, and philosophers…'
- Thomas Piketty: Capital in the Twenty-First Century
The effusive reception to Thomas Piketty's book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, suggests that there is great public appetite for a vigorous debate on economic justice today. Problems of economic justice and injustice manifest themselves at all levels of governance. At a global level the aftermath of the financial crisis gave rise to calls for new Bretton Woods institutions, for taxes on international financial transactions, and for increasing economic governance by regional organizations. At national level debates rage about the role of the state in providing public services and about the regulation of the financial services industry. At a local level the impact of austerity budgets may not affect all citizens in equal measure - government action can exacerbate existing injustices.
In the midst of this debate we may ask what role law plays in these economic relations. Does law express existing economic power relations, reinforcing the status quo, or can we look to it as a tool to challenge those power relations? Do legal institutions present forums to strive for economic justice through either litigation or legislation? What role does law play in the relationship between economics and diverse manifestations of justice: climate, gender, and intergenerational justices? Do our very conceptions of law and justice need re-examination after the financial crisis?
Our research and public engagement activities in the coming year will explore these questions through different sub-themes. We shall engage the contemporary CTLS faculty, the wider CTLS network, and colleagues from other institutions to contribute to the project across the course of the year. The outcome shall be a publication edited by the co-directors and featuring the texts of lectures and papers presented throughout the year.