Harvard Law and International Development Society

Global Inequality: Law and International Political Economy

Building Global Economic Justice

The past few decades have witnessed rapid and extraordinary growth on a global scale, but the chasm between rich and poor has widened to unprecedented depths. More than four billion people – some 60 percent of humanity – still live on less than $5 per day. The standard narrative tells us this is a technical problem, one that can be solved by adopting the right institutions and the right economic policies. And yet, despite decades of “development,” so much of the world continues to live in grinding poverty, while the elite in a few countries enjoy unprecedented, ever-increasing wealth. The field of international development seeks to ameliorate conditions of poverty and deprivation, but does so against this background of growing inequality, itself shaped by legacies of colonialism, resource extraction, and rapid globalization.

With this in mind, the 2019 LIDS symposium centers on the themes of global inequality and economic justice. The symposium aims to interrogate the interaction of law, development, and international political economy. By emphasizing a “law and political economy” approach, the workshops hope to illuminate the historical, structural drivers of poverty, reveal the role of global governance in facilitating the “great divergence” between Global North and Global South, as well as shed light on potential solutions and interventions. The symposium strives to spark growing conversation on the systemic roots of global inequality, bringing together practitioners, academics, and students who are interested in engaging more critically with the issue. Topics will include technology, intellectual property, and access to health; international investment and human rights; international finance and trade; and the role of law in shaping and correcting global inequality.



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