Monday, October 2, 2017

Symposium: Nationalism, Regionalism & Globalism: The Future of Economic Integration

On November 10, 2017, the Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law at Brooklyn Law School will host a symposium on "Nationalism, Regionalism & Globalism: The Future of Economic Integration." The program is here. Here's the idea:

Not long ago, globalization seemed to have a veneer of inexorable progress. Despite long-simmering controversies and moments of backlash, economic integration and its institutionalization was on the rise – in trade in goods, services, data, finance, and investment alike. By the early 2000s, multilateral organizations, ever-proliferating regional institutions, bilateral arrangements, and informal networks were struggling to keep the pace and mark their space in a globalized economy. But the picture looks very different today. After the financial crisis of 2008, and, more recently, the nationalist waves cresting in Europe and the U.S. since 2016, the future of economic integration is subject to considerable doubt. This conference will consider the shape of integration to come, focusing on the varying strategies and instruments by which States might pursue (or resist) global economic integration – at the multilateral, regional, bilateral, and even national levels – and what political and distributional effects these choices may entail.

The moment provides a rare opportunity to reconsider our path. Most abstractly, the time is ripe to revisit the normative case for ever-deepening globalization. Who have been the winners and losers of integration processes to date, and what do we know about how novel solutions might lead to different distributional results? Is there new reason to question whether aspects of integration have gone too far – e.g. in finance, regulatory standards, or foreign investment? Or has integration not gone far enough? Can supplementing deep economic integration with mechanisms for deeper political integration and social solidarity alleviate concerns? And what ought be the locus (or loci) of new integration projects? What are the implications, trade-offs, and political realities of multilateral, regional, or even bilateral strategies? On the one hand, the Trump administration has withdrawn the United States from its signature mega-regional arrangement (the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)), and placed negotiations on another on hold (the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)) – all supposedly in favor of a nationalistic bilateral approach. On the other hand, the European Union, Canada, China, Japan, and others have signaled a willingness to pursue regional and mega-regional integration strategies with or without the United States. What are the prospects for such national, bilateral, and regional strategies? And whither multilateralism?