What have we done? A breakfast conversation on Law, Political Economy, and Technology

After decades of generative discussions, transformative negotiations, and passionate (boundary) struggles on potential socio-technical imaginaries for the future(s) of the Internet, a certain feeling of finality is looming in the horizon. As technologies of advanced computation rapidly coalesce into ever-expanding infrastructures of information and computation, and as value chains of technology production transfer materials and wealth from Global South to Global North, ‘our’ digital world is showing determinate signs of an institutionally stabilised (world) order formed and sustained by dynamics of corporatism and legally constructed modes of governance. This is no longer (if it ever was) just about markets, competition, and innovation but about sovereignty, power, and control over the flow of capital and information in a deeply fragmented -yet globalised- world. 

Today, witnessing the reality of having few multinationals controlling the means and ends of [technology] production based on their own agendas, growth mandates, and logi(sti)cs, may suffice to give even to the most adamant supporter of [technology] regulation a moment of reflection. Perhaps the fact that you can replace the word ‘technology’ in the previous sentence with other domain-specific terms (e.g. ‘food’, ‘media’, ‘textile’, ‘energy’, or ‘pharma’) without the sentence losing much of its nuance and meaning can itself be quite indicative of the function(s) of law in today’s political economy.

But is law only ‘constitutive’ of the situation we find ourselves in? What have we (legal scholars, practitioners, and all sorts of ‘impact-driven’ professionals) done to facilitate/enable such function(s) in the realm of technology and beyond? Can ‘Law and/of the Political Economy’ offer us a point of view to help us make sense of what has happened? What would it mean, and what would it take for legal scholars to study the law of the (international) political economy in relation to technology?

Prof. Poul Kjaer is joining us on Friday 15 March at 9.30am (Amsterdam Law School, A2.07) to discuss law, history, private power, and technology with coffee, pastries, and Hegel.

This is an in-person only event, organised by the ‘Law and Governance of Quantum Technologies’ Research Group (https://www.ivir.nl/projects/law-and-governance-of-quantum-technologies-research-group/).

For questions/queries please contact Dr Petros Terzis (p.terzis@uva.nl).