Coca Cola’s Encounter With Global Constitutionalism

My Sunday started today with attendance of the London Socialist Film Co-Op, a venue offering monthly screenings of documentaries on various topics. As someone familiar with Gunther Teubner’s  ideas on global constitutionalism, I thought German Gutierrez’s and Carmen Garcia’s documentary on the Coca Cola case offered, as it did, some interesting points for consideration. Read more

No News from Brussels

I don’t usually comment on recent economic events, as this is not the main focus of this blog. However, as a student of political economy, I find the lonely refusal of the UK to sign up to the new European “fiscal pact” agreed yesterday in Brussels too tasty a piece of news to be missed [of course, what I write here is my opinion only, and should not be taken as the position of the International University College of Turin or the Institute for the study of Political Economy and Law within it. I’m really speaking for myself here].

Now, first of all, I had a look at the outline of what has been agreed by EU leaders. Based purely on the contents of that statement, I would have been skeptical myself about signing up to what looks – to me – a reheating of neo-liberal policies in a new technocratic sauce. Like the requirement for states not to run a current deficit higher than 0,5% (a requirement to be enshrined in constitutions across Europe, mind you!), sanctioned by an “automatic correction mechanism that shall be triggered in the event of deviation” (in sum, a disciplinary automatism – to use foucaultian terminology – for countries that stray away from the current austerity consensus). Secondly, I’m even more skeptical about the idea of an “economic partnership programme detailing the necessary structural reforms to ensure an effectively durable correction” for countries running excessive deficits. Based on the current track record of European “rescue packages” in Greece, this sounds like IMF structural adjustment in sheep’s clothing. Read more

Let the Show Begin: Performing the Commons

On the 2nd and 3rd of December, 2011, the International University College of Turin hosted (along with the Department of Economics “S. Cognetti de Martiis” of the University of Turin) an International workshop on a Draft European Charter of the Commons. The workshop brought together economists, philosophers, social theorists, lawyers and activists to discuss the proposal for a European Charter of the Commons to be presented to the EU Commission as a European Citizens’ Initiative (for those that are unfamiliar with ECIs, these are proposals which EU citizens may present to the Commission, requesting the latter to propose a given legal act that is deemed necessary for the implementation of the European Treaties). Read more