Friday, May 17, 2013

Conference: Culture and International Economic Law

On June 20-21, 2013, the Maastricht University Faculty of Law will host a conference on "Culture and International Economic Law." The program is here. Here's the idea:

Can states promote economic development without infringing their cultural wealth? Culture represents inherited values, ideas, beliefs, and traditions, which characterize social groups and their behaviour. Culture is not a static concept but rather a dynamic force, which evolves through time and shapes countries and civilizations. As such, culture has always benefitted from economic exchange. Nowadays globalization and international economic governance have spurred a more intense dialogue and interaction among nations: thus, they offer unprecedented opportunities for cultural exchange. In parallel, foreign direct investments can promote cultural diversity and provide the funds needed to locate, recover and preserve cultural heritage.

Nonetheless, globalization and international economic governance can also jeopardize cultural diversity and determine the erosion of the cultural wealth of nations. While trade in cultural products can lead to cultural homogenization and even cultural hegemony, foreign direct investments have an unmatched penetrating force with the ultimate capacity of changing landscapes and erasing memory. At the same time, the increase in global trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), has determined the creation of legally binding and highly effective regimes that demand states to promote and facilitate trade and FDI. Has an international economic culture emerged that emphasizes productivity and economic development at the expense of the common wealth?

This conference, funded by the European Union and Maastricht University, aims to explore the ‘clash of cultures’ between international economic law and international cultural law. It is articulated into four parts: the first part introduces the main themes and challenges. Parts II, III and IV explore the interplay between culture and economic interests in international economic law, international intellectual property law and European law respectively.