How to Vaccinate the World, Part 2

How to Vaccinate the World, Part 2

In a previous post, one of us described why we need global cooperation to achieve massively scaled up production of COVID vaccines. The United States must play a key role in this process, because it has the ability to mobilize resources, and powerful leverage over companies that have so far resisted serious participation in global efforts – especially Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J. Some commentators question whether the US has the power to compel this cooperation. Others have doubted the relevance of the demand coming from developing countries to temporarily waive the requirements of the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Agreement to facilitate more manufacturing. In this post, we explain why existing US law gives the Biden Administration the power to mandate sharing and overcome IP barriers, and how the TRIPS waiver can contribute importantly to efforts to scale up production at a global scale.

How to Vaccinate the World, Part 1

How to Vaccinate the World, Part 1

The shortage of vaccines is a manmade problem, brought on by the false promise of innovation-by-monopoly and by reproduction of colonial dynamics. Our global R&D system layers privatized control and profits for huge firms based in rich countries atop a vast regime of open science and public subsidy. We can scale up production if we force pharma to share.

Tax Havens: Legal Recoding of Colonial Plunder

Tax Havens: Legal Recoding of Colonial Plunder

The end of European empires during the mid-twentieth century and the independence of former colonies was many things: an oft-violent conflict between unequal opponents, a clash of ideas and ideologies, a struggle over rights and self-determination. Less frequently considered is that decolonization involved a dramatic movement of money and a legal reorganization of access to assets and investments. Having tracked these movements, I have found a surprising connection between decolonization and the expansion of tax havens and tax haven business during the 1950s and 1960s.

Coordination Rights Beyond Nation States

Coordination Rights Beyond Nation States

Conversations about progressive possibilities for economic policy and political economy often undertheorize or ignore international trade. The international economy is often seen as a free-for-all between countries, a space where powerful multinational firms are able to play governments off one another, resulting in a race to the bottom of domestic laws and regulations. Or, it is seen in terms of competition between economies with coherent rules, laws, and industries in the domestic sphere, but where Ricardian comparative advantage wins out internationally. Competition in international markets is seen as a flat state of nature, a “real” free market. By convincing ourselves that international trade and competition exists in a void–or accepting the assumption that it does–we ignore how law, policy, and regulation reshape the economy and commercial relationships to favor certain groups at the expense of others.

What Comes After Not Enough?

What Comes After Not Enough?

What might a new human rights movement look like after Occupy, Brexit, Piketty, and Trump?   Sam Moyn’s new book brings us deftly to the edge of this question, and it’s here that I want to jump in.   Not Enough offers important insights into some of the failures of the existing movement, at least in its…

Capitalism, Inequality, and Human Rights

Capitalism, Inequality, and Human Rights

Samuel Moyn’s new book begins, with an echo of Christopher Hill, by noting that history has to be revised and rewritten to meet the demands of the present. From this, Moyn sets out to provide us with a historical account of the relationship between human rights and inequality, in order to shed some light on…

Compatibility as Complicity? On Neoliberalism and Human Rights

Compatibility as Complicity? On Neoliberalism and Human Rights

Over the past decade, Sam Moyn has emerged as one of the most significant critical historians of international human rights. His latest book, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World contrasts the international human rights movement’s focus on achieving “sufficiency,” (i.e., basic minimums of social goods for all) with more egalitarian conceptions of national…

Getting the NIEO Right

Getting the NIEO Right

Samuel Moyn’s Not Enough is a pointed history of the present.  It provides a fast-paced narrative of the surprising ways we got to where we are now in our moral and political imagination of what is politically possible.  In this sense, like its precursor The Last Utopia, it is a distinctive kind of ideological and…

Born-Again Equality

Born-Again Equality

Sam Moyn’s Not Enough gives us a sweeping account of more than two centuries of the political quest for economic equality.  His history locates early calls among the Jacobins who demanded fair distribution during the French Revolution.  It moves through the nineteenth-century era of economic liberalism in Europe, when hopes for economic equality languished and…

Human Rights and Political Economy

Human Rights and Political Economy

Did the Human Rights movement fail?   In his new book, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World, Samuel Moyn responds in the affirmative. He argues that the international human rights movement narrowed its agenda to address the sufficiency of minimal provision, leaving the movement impotent in the face of rising global inequality and attacks on social citizenship at the…

Free Trade Free for All: Market Romanticism Versus Reality

Free Trade Free for All: Market Romanticism Versus Reality

The drama surrounding President Trump’s decision to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminum has roiled the Republican Party and wide swathes of the corporate elite. The tariff decision comes on the heels of political bluster about the US being treated “unfairly” by other countries. This accusation of “unfairness” when it comes to US trade…

International Investment Arbitration in Critical Focus

International Investment Arbitration in Critical Focus

How might we come to better understand the complex, multilevel, and interdependent world in which we live? This is a particular challenge for international and global legal scholars whose methods of analysis typically are confined to empirically observable legal phenomena in the form of international conventions, treaties, custom, and the like. In this post, I…