The global economy generates wealth and prosperity just as it engenders poverty, inequality, and injustice. The systemic flaws in the operation of cross-border markets are evident where the mechanics of the global economy enable or exacerbate deprivation, food insecurity, capital flight, the exploitation of natural resources, or environmental harms. These crises might point to failures of domestic and multilateral governance, to failures of law, regulation and systems of accountability, as well as to the need to interrogate the dominant paradigms that shape the international economic order.
Situated at LSE Human Rights and directed by Dr Margot Salomon, the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy probes the challenges posed by the complexities of the global economy and their implications for human well-being. The Lab has been set up to create a dynamic space for research, from the conceptual to the practical and across disciplines, on the myriad places where human rights, fairness and justice intersect with economic globalisation.
The Lab will initiate and support cutting-edge research, identify and address gaps in policy and practice, and consolidate and cross-fertilise high-quality scholarship that is on-going but too often streamed into separate tracks. The Lab will provide a hub for creative work to undertake advanced theoretical, normative, as well as applied research on issues central to concerns around justice under conditions of globalisation.
The inaugural phase of the Lab's work was funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the support is gratefully acknowledged.
Lab Visiting Fellow hosted Chilean government officials to discuss business and human rights
Andrea Saldarriaga, Visiting Fellow with the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy, hosted a delegation of four representatives from the Chilean government, including the Under-Secretary for the Economy and Business and President of the Social Responsibility Council for Sustainable Development. The meeting addressed the Chilean National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) and explored possible avenues for effective implementation, including in the area of foreign investment. Dr. Jan Kleinheisterkamp, Associate Professor of Law at the LSE and Andrea Shemberg, Visiting Fellow Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy, attended to provide their expertise. The meeting was one important piece of work that Saldarriaga is undertaking to build understanding around State implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
On 26 November 2016 the Investment & Human Rights Project (IHRP) issued its recommendations to the government of Colombia to address investment policy in its National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights. The recommendations are part of the IHRP’s work to support the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights State Duty to Protect (DtP) and improve guidance available to States on foreign direct investment and investment policy in the development of NAPs. See English summary or Spanish full version here.
On 16 November 2016, the Investment and Human Rights Project (IHRP) at the Centre’s Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights hosted a joint session at the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. The session addressed how States should implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPS) in the context of investment policy, drawing on the recent work by the IHRP in Colombia and Indonesia. The UN Panel discussion brought together representatives from both countries to discuss the current plans for investment policy to be included in their respective National Action Plans to implement the UNGPs. Andrea Shemberg of the IHRP was on the Panel along with a representative of Rio Tinto. Dante Pesce of the working group moderated. The UN Annual Forum is a public meeting, but registration was required here
Speakers: Radhika Balakrishnan, Diane Elson, James Heintz. Chair: Dr Polly Vizard, Associate Director and Associate Professorial Research Fellow, CASE. 28 February 2017
Speaker: George Katrougalos, Alternative Minister for European Affairs - Foreign Ministry, Greece and Professor of Public Law. Chair: Professor Kevin Featherstone, Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor of European Politics. Discussant: Sarah Paterson, Assistant Professor of Law. 14 November 2016
Speaker: Dr Matthias Goldmann. Chair: Dr Margot Salomon. 5 May 2016
Speaker: Dr Radha Ivory. Chair: Dr Margot Salomon. 11 February 2016
On 26 November the Investment & Human Rights Project (IHRP) issued its recommendations to the government of Colombia to address investment policy in its National Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights. The recommendations are part of the IHRP’s work to support the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights State Duty to Protect (DtP) and improve guidance available to States on foreign direct investment and investment policy in the development of NAPs. See English summary.
Economics and Law in Conversation Series
This new initiative offers a series of interviews with economists engaging with human rights law and the objectives that animate it. The central aim of the Series is to discover and deepen existing synergies between the two fields in the interest of social justice. The Economics and Law in Conversation Series is moderated by Dr Joshua Curtis, Visiting Fellow at the Lab.
On 16 November, the Investment and Human Rights Project (IHRP) and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights will host a joint session at the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. The session will address how States should implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPS) in the context of investment policy, drawing on the recent work by the IHRP in Colombia and Indonesia.
The work of the Lab's Investment & Human Rights Project has informed the latest report of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights to be presented to the Human Rights Council's 29th session, 15 June - 3 July 2015. In its report the UN Working Group draws on the Investment & Human Rights Project's contribution to the World Investment Forum organised by the UN Conference on Trade and Development in October 2014.
Dr Margot Salomon, Lab Director, was invited by the Speaker of the Greek Parliament to join the Special Committee of the Hellenic Parliament for the Audit of the Greek Debt (Debt Truth Committee). The Committee operates under the auspices of the Hellenic Parliament to evaluate Greek debt and to address whether parts of it may be deemed illegal, illegitimate or unsustainable.
On 4 March 2015, Andrea Shemberg, co-lead of the Lab's Investment and Human Rights Project, was part of an invited panel of specialists brought together for a Chatham House seminar to discuss the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US: TTIP: Shaping the Future of Investor−State Dispute Settlement?
Beyond Global Capitalism: Reclaiming the Future of International Law
During 2015, Dr Margot Salomon, Professor John Linarelli and Professor M Sornarajah will conduct collaborative research on the international legal regimes of investment, trade, finance and human rights and the terms on which humanity has been challenged by them. This project is a study of what is in essence the economic violence of international law and the basis for its redemption.
On 28 October 2014 the Lab hosted the launch of Arab Development Denied: Dynamics of Accumulation by Wars of Encroachment. Dr Ali Kadri, member of the Lab's Sounding Board, was joined by Professor John Weeks (SOAS) and Dr Jason Hickel (LSE) for a discussion on Kadri's examination of how the Arab world has undergone a process of developmental descent, or ‘de-development’ over the past three decades.
On 10 April 2014, the Lab's Investment & Human Rights Project launched the Investment & Human Rights Learning Hub where users can explore the connections between investment and human rights, find relevant resources in the toolboxes, watch learning videos and read expert articles on a range of investment and human rights themes.
In December 2013, the Lab's Investment & Human Rights Project participated in the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. Andrea Saldarriaga moderated a multi-stakeholder panel discussion on Investment and Human Rights and Andrea Shemberg was a panellist in the discussion on the application of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to state-owned financial institutions.
At the UN Forum the Investment and Human Rights Project supported the launch of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' training on the UN Principles for Responsible Contracts integrating human rights risk management into State-Investor contract negotiations.
Open Global Rights: The Lab is now a regular contributor to the Open Global Rights blog on Open Democracy. Open Global Rights is a multilingual, online forum for debating human rights worldwide. In the first blog from the Lab, Austerity, Human Rights and Europe’s Accountability Gap, Lab Director Dr Margot Salomon details how a range of actors responsible for austerity measures in Greece is at best ignoring and, at worst, violating socio-economic rights.
Lab Director, Dr Margot Salomon, was interviewed by Canada's foreign relations council as part of a series of interviews with Canadians who have made notable contributions to debates on global issues. In 'Where Human Rights Law Meets Globalisation' Dr Salomon talks about how globalisation has shaped the concept of human rights, how international organisations and companies can be held accountable for human rights abuses, and how our current system actually undermines development.
In the latest Speak Out piece, Introduction to the Human Economy, Dr Nicolas Bueno questions the social necessity of traditional paid work. He presents the human economy framework outlined in the article ‘From the Right to Work to Freedom from Work’ (International Association of Labour Law Journals Award 2017). How to reduce the fear of being unemployed, the risks associated with quitting an unfulfilling job or retiring earlier? Is there an economic model that could make us freer from traditional paid work and would work for all in both developing and developed countries? The discussion in this piece goes beyond the idea of a basic income. After presenting the historical origins of the right to work, influenced by the dogma of work, this piece introduces the terminology of the human economy. It questions the necessity of traditional paid work and discusses how it may be possible to achieve greater freedom from work whilst simultaneously securing a wide range of human benefits.
Read Introduction to the Human Economy here
In this piece on Development under Uncertainty in the Arab World, Dr Ali Kadri discusses obstacles to development in the Arab world with emphasis on the baleful impact of conflicts. He tells us about the social efficiency criterion, the legal corruption of institutional lenders, and how private interests exhibit a necrotrophic relationship with the public sector or indigenous economy. The key question to investigate, it is said, is the relationship between wars and violent social order restructuring.
Read the first piece in the series of Speak Out!
Economics and Law in Conversation
This new initiative offers a series of interviews with economists engaging with human rights law and the objectives that animate it. The central aim of the Economics and Law in Conversation Series is to discover and deepen existing synergies between the two fields in the interest of social justice.
In the final reflection piece for our Series of Conversations, Dr Joshua Curtis describes some of the major themes that emerged from the interviews with economists. Within the context of a suggested merger of heterodox economics and human rights law, the piece stresses strong commonalities including a shared depth of ethical commitment and a common aversion to technocratic policy solutions. Dr Curtis was a Visiting Fellow at the Lab from 2015-2016 and moderated the Series. He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool. Read the final reflection piece in our Series on Economics and Law in Conversation.
In our third Conversation, Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in Economics at Cambridge University, offers his thoughtful perspective on the relationship between economics, law and in particular human rights. He shows how an accurate picture of history, and a refusal to separate theoretically economics from politics, are both necessary to demystify the economic field and to think clearly about the laws and regulations that our present society requires.
Read the third entry in our Series on Economics and Law in Conversation
In our second Conversation, Margaret Somers, Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, traverses the relationship between a new sociology of human rights, the nature of citizenship and the structure of our political economy. She relates the lessons of Polanyi's work regarding the dependence of markets on social relations to the widening cracks in our present economic paradigm to then point us towards change. Read the second entry in our Series on Economics and Law in Conversation
In our first Conversation, Radhika Balakrishnan, an economist and Professor in Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, shares her knowledge and experience of years of work at the intersection of human rights and economic policy. Read the first in our Series on Economics and Law in Conversation
In this inaugural series of interviews the Lab reaches out to Sounding Board members to find out how injustice functions in the areas in which they work and how the Lab's creative focus across disciplines can help inform their research.
In the third in our series of interviews with Lab affiliates Dr Ali Kadri unpacks a complex and violent account of financialisation, militarisation and oil in the Middle East, and explains how human rights and sovereignty over natural resources of disempowered national working classes challenge economic orthodoxy. Dr Kadri is a member of the Lab Sounding Board. Read the interview
In the second of our series of interviews with Lab affiliates we asked Dr Rachel Kurian to explain the role of 'flexicurity' when it comes to protecting workers, and to consider why austerity has become the dominant response to economic crises in Europe. Read the interview
Lab 'views: In the first of a series of interviews with Lab affiliates, we asked Professor Olivier De Schutter, as he comes to the end of 6 years as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, what the key concerns are that undermine the exercise of the right to food, how change has taken place, and where we might next put our research energies. Read the Interview.