Georgia Law Professor Laura Phillips-Sawyer’s book, “American Fair Trade,” featured on German radio broadcast

Featured recently in a broadcast on a German public radio station was Georgia Law Professor  Laura Phillips-Sawyer, author of American Fair Trade: Proprietary Capitalism, Corporatism, and the ‘New Competition,’ 1890-1940 (Cambridge University Press 2019).

The Deutschland Rundfunk Kultur broadcast by Caspar Dohmen – entitled “Aufstieg und Zerschlagung des Rockefeller-Konzerns,” or “Rise and breakup of the Rockefeller corporation” – profiled John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), an American magnate of the so-called Gilded Age, and, in Dohmen’s words, “the first billionaire.”

Rockefeller, along with Henry M. Flagler and others, founded Standard Oil Co., a corporation that figured in precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court antitrust litigation. This history figures in to Phillips-Sawyer’s book, and she is quoted at length in the broadcast. Some examples:

“The Gilded Age was a time of massive technological change. … There were new big players, but also horizontal mergers where different manufacturers got together and said: Let’s solve the problem of price competition by coordinating and either fixing prices or dividing markets. Partly they were looking for stability in this time of rapid technological change. …”

“If you look at Standard Oil and what Rockefeller and Flagler and his house attorney S.C. Dodd did: A lot of it was creative destruction and smart business strategy! … The oil company also built up a fleet of tankers, first for rail and later for road. … [T]hey made all sorts of innovations that were beneficial to consumers. But then there were moments when they crossed a line and tried to crush their competitors. This is when we need police, surveillance and regulation. You have to enforce the law to keep a market functioning.”

“It took a long time for the case law to change to allow the federal government to intervene in interstate commerce. … A great deal of uncertainty remained about the answer to this question until the New Deal period in the 1930s.”

Video available for “The Law of Global Economic Statecraft,” conference held October 24 at Georgia Law

Anyone who missed our October 24 University of Georgia School of Law conference entitled “The Law of Global Economic Statecraft” are most welcome now to view the event online.

As posted, an interdisciplinary and international range of speakers came together to address the intensifying geopolitics of sanctions, economic pressure, economic competition t this annual conference of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, which was cosponsored by the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and other University of Georgia units: Willson Center for Humanities & Arts; Georgia Law students’ International Law Society; the Center for International Trade & Security, School of Public & International Affairs; the Department of History, Franklin College of Arts & Sciences; and the Department of Economics, Terry College of Business.

Keynoting the conference was a book discussion with Cornell University historian Nicholas Mulder, author of The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War (Yale University Press 2022).

The video link is here. Times and descriptions of each panel are as follows:

00:07 Panel 1: How We Got Here, with Zohra Ahmed, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Georgia School of Law; Mona Ali, Associate Professor of Economics, State University of New York-New Paltz; Harlan Grant Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and  GJICL’s Faculty Advisor; Nicholas Mulder, Assistant Professor and Milstein Faculty Fellow, Cornell University Department of History.

01:31 Panel 2: Where We Are, with Lauren Brown, Associate, Squire Patton Boggs, Washington, D.C.; Sarah Bauerle Danzman, Director, Tobias Center for Innovation in International Development, and Associate Professor, International Studies, Indiana University-Bloomington; Maryam Jamshidi, Associate Professor of Law University of Florida Levin College of Law; Tom Ruys, Professor, Faculty of Law and Criminology, Department of European, Public, and International Law, Ghent University, Belgium; and Jan Zahradil, Member, European Parliament.

02:53 Panel 3: Where We’re Headed, with Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor, University of Georgia School of Law; Elena Chachko, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School; J. Benton Heath, Assistant Professor of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law; Henry Farrell, SNF Agora Institute Professor of International Affairs at SAIS, Johns Hopkins University; and Mona Paulsen, Assistant Professor of Law, London School of Economics Law School, England.

04:17, Keynote Book Discussion of The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War, with (pictured above, from left) author Nicholas MulderLaura Phillips-Sawyer, Associate Professor at the University of Georgia School of Law; and Scott Reynolds Nelson, Georgia Athletic Association Professor at the University of Georgia Department of History.

Georgia Law scholars MJ Durkee and Harlan Cohen to take part next week in International Law Weekend, annual meeting of American Branch of International Law Association

Two scholars on the international law faculty here at the University of Georgia School of Law will take part next week in International Law Weekend 2021, the annual meeting of the American Branch of the International Law Association. Typically held in New York, the meeting, for which Georgia Law is proud to be a Gold-Level Sponsor, will take place online this year on account of the pandemic. This year’s theme is “Reinvesting in International Law.” Registration is now open here.

Both professors will be featured on Friday, October 29 – as follows:

9-10:15 a.m. Outsourcing International Responsibility

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor at Georgia Law, will moderate and contribute to this panel, which will consider how attribution is handled in the Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts issued twenty years ago by the United Nations’ International Law Commission. Durkee and other panelists – Kristen Boon of Seton Hall Law, Chimène Keitner of California-Hastings Law, and Alex Mills of the Faculty of Laws at University College London – will consider the following question:

When the state outsources public functions to private actors and holds stock in private companies, when should it be responsible for environmental disasters, military activities, cyber-attacks, and other violations of international law?

10:30-11:45 a.m. The Geopolitics of Economic Competition

Harlan G. Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center at Georgia Law, will moderate this panel, which will map the new terrain of global competitive anxiety. Panelists Lauren Brown (Georgia Law JD’19) of Squire Patton Boggs, Sarah Bauerle Danzman of Indiana University Bloomington, Margaret Lewis of Seton Hall Law, and Henrique Choer Moraes of the Embassy of Brazil in New Zealand, will lay out various state policies being adopted, explores the choices facing those caught in the potential crosshairs, and further consider the ways in which international law and its regimes are being challenged, restructured, and reformed. The discussion promises to tell a story of flux and change from the viewpoint of the globe, the state, and the individual.

The full ILW program, which includes keynote addresses by many dignitaries, is here. Registration, which is free for students, is here.

Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen awarded Jackson Prize for his JIEL article “Nations and Markets”

The world’s leading international economic law publication has awarded its top scholarship honor to Harlan G. Cohen, Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Cohen is the winner of the 2020 John H. Jackson Prize, bestowed by the Board of Editors of the Journal of International Economic Law, for his article “Nations and Markets” (prior posts).

As stated on the website of this Oxford University Press journal, the prize is named after its founding editor, John Howard Jackson (1932-2015), who, in the course of his career teaching law at Georgetown, Michigan, and Berkeley, kept “a keen eye on new developments and novel systemic interactions in the field beyond the four corners” of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization. With an aim to “underlining the importance of construing international economic law in this broader, ever changing perspective,” the Jackson Prize “is awarded annually to the article or other contribution in the JIEL that most significantly breaks new ground and adds new insights to the study and understanding of international economic law, especially in fields beyond a self-contained analysis of WTO law.”

Published in December 2020, Cohen’s “Nations and Markets” appears in volume 23, issue 4, of the peer-reviewed journal, at pages 793-815, and is available online here. Here’s the abstract:

Economics and security seem increasingly intertwined. Citing national security, states subject foreign investments to new scrutiny, even unwinding mergers. The provision of 5G has become a diplomatic battleground—Huawei at its center. Meanwhile, states invoke national security to excuse trade wars. The USA invoked the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade national security exception to impose steel and aluminum tariffs, threatening more on automotive parts. Russia invoked that provision to justify its blockade of Ukraine, as did Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to excuse theirs of Qatar. And with the spread of COVID-19, states are invoking national security to scrutinize supply lines. Multiplying daily, such stories have led some observers to dub the era one of geoeconomics. Nonetheless, these developments remain difficult to judge, and the relationship between economics and national security remains confused and slippery. The essay seeks clarity in the deeper logic of these labels, revealing a fundamental choice between the logics of markets and the logics of state. Whether invoked to ‘secure’ borders, privacy, health, the environment, or jobs, ‘national security’ is a claim about the proper location of policymaking. Appeals to economics, with their emphasis on global welfare and global person-to-person relationships, are such claims as well. Resolving disputes, this essay argues, requires recognizing these root choices.

Associate Dean MJ Durkee’s “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” in Virginia Law Review

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has published “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” in 107 Virginia Law Review 431 (2021).

Here’s the abstract of this latest publication by Durkee, who also holds the title of Allen Post Professor of Law:

Private actors interpret legal norms, a phenomenon I call “interpretive entrepreneurship.” The phenomenon is particularly significant in the international context, where many disputes are not subject to judicial resolution, and there is no official system of precedent. Interpretation can affect the meaning of laws over time. For this reason, it can be a form of “post hoc” international lawmaking, worth studying alongside other forms of international lobbying and norm entrepreneurship by private actors. The Article identifies and describes the phenomenon through a series of case studies that show how, why, and by whom it unfolds. The examples focus on entrepreneurial activity by business actors and cast a wide net, examining aircraft finance, space mining, modern slavery, and investment law. As a matter of theory, this process-based account suggests that international legal interpretation involves contests for meaning among diverse groups of actors, giving credence to critical and constructivist views of international legal interpretation. As a practical matter, the case studies show that interpretive entrepreneurship is an influence tool and a driver of legal change.

The article is available both at SSRN and at the Virginia Law Review website.

Georgia Law Professor Durkee presents “Interpretive Entrepeneurs” at annual meeting of Law and Society Association

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, the Allen Post Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently presented her scholarship at the 2021 annual meeting of the Law and Society Association.

Durkee’s presentation, “Interpretive Entrepreneurs: Business, Interpretive Lobbying, and International Legal Change,” drew from her paper available here.

Her talk formed part of a panel on “Global Legal Pluralism: Perspectives on International, Transnational, and Multilevel Governance.” Chaired by George Washington Law Professor Paul Schiff Berman, the panel also included Law Professors Elies van Sliedregt of the University of Leeds, England, Frédéric Mégret of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and Erin Ryan of Florida State University, Tallahassee.

Georgia Law Professor Harlan Cohen presents “Nations and Markets” to University of Trento, Italy

Harlan Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently gave an online presentation of his new article “Nations and Markets” at Italy’s University of Trento School of International Studies.

Available at SSRN, “Nations and Markets” was published in December in the peer-reviewed Journal of International Economic Law.

Its description:

“Economics and security seem increasingly intertwined. Citing national security, states subject foreign investments to new scrutiny, even unwinding mergers. The provision of 5G has become a diplomatic battleground—Huawei at its center. Meanwhile, states invoke national security to excuse trade wars. The USA invoked the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade national security exception to impose steel and aluminum tariffs, threatening more on automotive parts. Russia invoked that provision to justify its blockade of Ukraine, as did Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to excuse theirs of Qatar. And with the spread of COVID-19, states are invoking national security to scrutinize supply lines. Multiplying daily, such stories have led some observers to dub the era one of geoeconomics.

“Nonetheless, these developments remain difficult to judge, and the relationship between economics and national security remains confused and slippery. The essay seeks clarity in the deeper logic of these labels, revealing a fundamental choice between the logics of markets and the logics of state. Whether invoked to ‘secure’ borders, privacy, health, the environment, or jobs, ‘national security’ is a claim about the proper location of policymaking. Appeals to economics, with their emphasis on global welfare and global person-to-person relationships, are such claims as well. Resolving disputes, this essay argues, requires recognizing these root choices.”

Georgia Law Professor MJ Durkee discusses “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” at St. John’s international law colloquium

Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, the Allen Post Professor here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently presented “Interpretive Entrepreneurs” as part of the annual colloquium at the Center for International and Comparative Law, St. John’s University School of Law, New York.

Durkee’s article on the subject is forthcoming in the Virginia Law Review

Georgia Law Prof. Cohen presents “Nations and Markets” at International Economic Law and Policy seminar

Harlan Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently presented his paper, “Nations and Markets,” in the International Economic Law and Policy work-in-progress seminar.

IELAP is a London-based series (currently online) convened by: Dr. Federico Ortino, Reader of International Economic Law, King’s College London; Dr. Lauge Poulsen, Associate Professor in International Political Economy and Director of Graduate Studies in Political Science, University College London; and Dr. Mona Pinchis-Paulsen , Assistant Professor at the Department of Law, London School of Economics.

Georgia Law Professor Bruner presents on corporations and sustainability in University of Oslo Law forum

Professor Christopher Bruner, the Stembler Family Distinguished Professor in Business Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law, presented yesterday in Company Law Forum, a video-seminar offered by Research Group Companies, Markets and Sustainability, a unit within the University of Oslo Faculty of Law.

The Research Group described Bruner’s presentation, “Private Power and Public Good: Harnessing the Corporation for a Sustainable Future”, as follows:

The corporate form is widely described, and on some accounts defined, by reference to a core set of purportedly fixed, intrinsic attributes. Such depictions of the corporate form typically reflect strong assumptions about which corporate constituencies should be regarded as internal participants in the corporation, and go hand-in-glove with strong theoretical claims about the corporation’s core utility and corporate law’s correlative content. Christopher Bruner argues, however, that such rigid and static depictions of the corporate form and corporate law have fundamentally misconstrued the nature of the entity, giving rise to a host of corporate pathologies that include excessive risk-taking and cost externalization without regard for environmental and social impacts.

Such hidebound conceptions of the corporation have effectively sacrificed the flexibility and dynamism of the corporate form, thereby obscuring potential governance-related regulatory options that could offer promising solutions to a host of vexing problems. In his new book project, tentatively titled Private Power and Public Good: Harnessing the Corporation for a Sustainable Future, Bruner will re-conceptualize the corporation, not as a fixed and rigid set of legal characteristics but rather as a dynamic legal technology that can be calibrated and re-calibrated in varying contexts, and over time, in response to a dynamic landscape. He will then build upon that framework to explore the corporation’s potential to contribute to environmental, social, and economic sustainability.