Law is a powerful social scaling technology. This helps explain why our global systems of trade, investment, production, and financing can be sustained without a global law or a global state. Our global systems are sustained for the most part by select domestic laws whose reach has been extended to the globe. The diffusion of domestic law can take different forms: harmonization, voluntary or mandatory opt-in, and recognition and enforcement of foreign laws. Harmonization is a slow and highly politicized process. Opt-ins and recognition are the major drivers of law’s global scale.

The ability to take a domestic legal system and scale it to the globe is remarkable. The price of law’s scaling power, however, is that it  crowds out self-governance everywhere except in the origin country. Some countries, their legislatures and diffusion agents have become global rule setters; all others, including sovereign nation states, are rule takers. This erodes fundamental principles of self-governance.

The projects organized under this theme seek to document law’s scaling power, to identify normative concerns and to develop solutions.

Workshops and Colloquia

Regulatory Capabilities

Globalization has produced a new form of regulatory governance: Transnational Private Regulation. TPR is not a free standing set of rules. Rather it depicts a practice whereby private contracts are used to uphold and enforce the regulatory standards of one country along a global supply chain. Typically, the regulatory standards of the importing country trump and  importing multinational corporation diffuses these standards by using contracts with suppliers to enforce them. If they wish to sell their products into these global chains, suppliers have few choices.

Against this background, self-governance can no longer be perceived as a question of nation-states. It can be realized only, if all relevant stakeholder recognize the normative quest for people to have a say in the rules by which they are governed. Cafaggi and Pistor developed the concept of “regulatory capability” to advance this normative agenda. Several workshops and conferences were held at Columbia Law School and the Scuola Nazionale del Administratione (SNA) in Rome. The results have been published in The Journal on Regulation and Governance http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rego.2015.9.issue-2/issuetoc

The project was sponsored by the Scuola Nazionale del Administratione (SNA) in Rome. 

Sovereignty and Property
September 2015, New York

Sovereignty is associated with the rise of the territorially bounded nation state that is often likened to a private owner. Globalization has unleashed forces that alter the relation among sovereign states as well as the relations between them and other actors. Like holders of private property rights, sovereign states are thought to have unique rights of exclusion and control. The analogy between property and sovereignty has been used to justify and delimit the right to exclude; identify the right-holders’ scope of authority and/or immunity vis-à-vis others; and explain the relation between society and the sovereign.

A conference on Sovereignty and Property held at Columbia Law School in September of 2015 brought together an interdisciplinary group of experts on sovereignty, property rights theory, globalization, and political theory to revisit the analogy between property and sovereignty and explore competing frameworks for understanding sovereignty and analyzing the transformation of sovereignty in the age of globalization.

The conference was co-sponsored by Pistor’s Max Planck Research Award and by an EU Grant to the Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law at Tel Aviv University. The results have been published by the Journal on Theoretical Inquiries in Law
(July 2017).

The Future of Integration in Europe and Beyond
September 2016, New York

Columbia Law School, in association with the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, hosted a major conference to examine the implications of the Brexit referendum for the competing forces of integration and fragmentation in the European Union, but within many of its member states and indeed around the world. The Brexit vote has set in motion a process of disintegration that calls into question the viability of other multilateral projects.  This in turn raises questions regarding challenges – such as climate change, refugee crises, security and terrorism, and financial instability – whose solution seems dependent on joint action.

A roster of highly distinguished speakers from academia, business and government, convened in three panels to share their views on “European Integration after the Brexit Vote,” “The Political Challenges of Economic Integration,” and “The Prospect of Disintegration and the Future of Global Business.”

Visit the conference website for more information, including a video recording of the conference and background materials by the speakers.