Global Capitalism & Law

What is a master class?

Global Capitalism and Law Master Classes

The goal of a master class is to learn how senior scholars from different disciplines think about the relationship between global capitalism and law. A master class is different from a seminar discussion of work in progress because the goal is to better understand the assumptions, insights, and knowledge that shape the scholar’s thinking on our topic.  

Usually the topic of global capitalism and law is not the direct subject that invited scholars engage. Yet there is a set of methodological assumptions and background conditions that shape their research in that area. We want to learn about the ideas, canonical works and set of problems that guide their thinking so as to ascertain methodological and substantive assumptions that may or may not be articulated, to locate how law explicitly or implicitly figures into their understandings of the working of capitalism at the local, regional and global levels.

We ask our master instructors to choose a set of readings that participants will study in advance. While instructors may assign their own writings, often it is more revealing to read works that the instructor is channeling and/or critiquing. Rather than a long paper presentation, we prefer a short introduction designed to explain the set of ideas that inform the instructor’s thinking about the relationship between global capitalism and law. The seminar then proceeds in the form of questions, answers, queries and challenges.

Previous master classes have been taught by:

Dani Rodrik, on institutions and economic growth
Joel Mokyr, on European culture and economic growth
Mitu Gulati and Lee Buchheit, on sovereign debt contracts

Some of the questions that interest our members include:

  • Is there a core set of ideas or principles that law must supply to facilitate the working of global and/or national markets?  
  • Has global economic law, or the makers of global economic law, changed over time?  If the makers of global economic law change, does the content of the law also change?  If so, how and in what way does the content of global and/or economic regulation change? Which set of actors and institutions (at the local, national and transnational level) have explanatory priority for understanding the development of global economic law?
  • Where and to what extent can market needs be balanced with the achievement of other political goals? What are the most promising approaches for addressing this question?
  • How much choice, and what types of choices exist for stakeholders as they craft market regulations to promote local, national and global priorities?
  • We want to understand when global markets become politically unsustainable. What factors destabilize global markets?