Panel 3: The Rise of New Societal Orders and Global Supply Chains, Labor, and Investment Markets

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The third panel was “The Rise of New Societal Orders and Global Supply Chains, Labor, and Investment Markets.” It was moderated by Professor Kenneth McPhail of Manchester University. Larry Catá Backer (Professor, Penn State Law) presented “The Privatization of Governance.” Nichlas Rowland (Professor, Pennsylvania State University – Altoona) & Matthew Jon Spaniol (Professor, Roskilde University) presented “Futures for China: Results from Pre-conference Scenario Planning Workshop.” Sean Jorgensen (Attorney & Secretary of the Foundation for Law and International Affairs) presented “Global Income Inequality and Failures of Nationalism: A Case for the Globalization of Labor.” Keren Wang (Ph.D. candidate, Penn State University Department of Communication Arts and Science) “A Ritualist Perspective on the State of Chinese Legal System” at this panel.

This panel worked through a cluster of complex issues that has destabilized the once simple landscape within which international trade could be constructed. Its speakers introduced us to the clusters of new actors—international financial institutions, the multinational enterprise, international organizations, global civil society—and new frameworks for regulation that appear increasing to drive the form and content of trade and its constitutionalizing expression. That was in some part my contribution to the panel. Yet, Keren Wang reminded us that at the same time, these trends retain a string attachment to the traditional rituals of the production and assertion of power. And Sean Jorgensen reminded us of the problematic position of labor within the construction of international trade regimes that remain obsessed with the privilege and authority of capital. Nicholas Rowland and Matthew Jon Spaniol lastly reminded us that these forces are neither chaotic or unmanageable, introducing us to the rigor of scenario planning within the context of trade with a focus on China.