Human Rights and the Global Economy, November 9-10 2011

Join us as experts and scholars explore human rights as a mediating language for discussions of social justice and the global economy. How do democracy, social justice, and international human rights law constrain international trade and intellectual property? What responsibilities do wealthy nations have to end global poverty? What are the ethical obligations and claims for collective international action? What are the human rights dimensions of climate change and its consequences for people’s lives and livelihoods? Can international organizations and corporations ignore human rights? In what ways can economic policies and institutions be used to strengthen human rights policies around the world and advance social justice?


Human rights has become a mediating language for discussions of social justice and the global economy. The dynamism of the global economy is at once creating and destroying opportunities for people, shaping lives and livelihoods. Yet, while the language of human rights developed alongside capitalism, human rights and economics have followed separate trajectories in both theory and practice.

This conference is intended to contribute to a nascent conversation between the discourses of human rights and economics. While notions of human rights help frame the issues, "rights talk" is often criticizes as mere rhetoric that contributes little to a better understanding of the processes involved. This symposium explores the role human rights can and does play in an evolving global economy. It brings together theorists and practitioners from both fields who are concerned with equity and social justice in many dimensions: the rules (trade, intellectual property, carbon emissions and climate change), the actors (corporations, multinational organizations), and the tools (the international human rights system). Scholars, activists, and members of the public are invited to explore exciting initiatives in this nascent field. Contemporary crises of climate change, financial market volatility, and increasing inequality add to the urgency of seeking connections between human rights and the global economy.

This conference is the 25th in the Social Research conference series and celebrates the tenth anniversary of the New School graduate program in International Affairs. The conference was organized as a collaboration among professors Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (International Affairs, The New School for Public Engagement), Miriam Ticktin (Anthropology, The New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts), Nehal Bhuta (International Affairs, The New School for Public Engagement), and Arien Mack, Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology, The New School for Social Research, editor of Social Research since 1970, and founder of the conference series in 1988. Social Research: An International Quarterly is the flagship journal of The New School for Social Research

For a list of more than 70 degree programs at The New School, visit degree programs. For a list of other events at The New School, visit the university calendar. For general information about The New School, visit the quick facts page. For the history of this conference series, visit the Social Research conference series site.

The conference is made possible with generous support from the Climate Change Narratives, Rights and the Poor project at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Bergen, Norway.

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