The Ethics of International Investment Law

7 March 2019 (Thu), 12-1:30pm
At Classroom 16

The legal regime regulating cross-border investment gives key rights to foreign investors and places significant duties on states hosting that investment. It also raises distinctive moral questions due to its potential to constrain a state’s ability to manage its economy and protect its people. Yet international investment law remains virtually untouched as a subject of philosophical inquiry. This talk by Professor Steven Ratner from the University of Michigan Law School will map the questions of international political morality surrounding investment rules through the lens of two critiques of the law – that it systemically takes advantage of the global South and that it constrains the policy choices of states hosting investment. It will unpack certain moral and empirical assumptions underlying these critiques. The talk will also address the distributive justice implications of international investment rules. The aim of such an analysis is to develop an interdisciplinary agenda – among law, philosophy, and social science – for inquiry into the justice of investment law and reform of its unjust elements.