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Global Inequality Symposium: Lessons from Activism & Academia – Tech, Health & Political Economy

April 4, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

This event is part of the 2019 Harvard Law and International Development Symposium on Global Inequality. Professors Amy Kapczynski of Yale Law School and Yochai Benkler of Harvard Law School will talk about their work on technology, health, and political economy. Themes will include the future of robots, labor automation, the fallacy of technological determinism, and the allyship between activism and academic movements. As a student fellow, Kapczynski was one of the co-founders of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), a student-led organization advocating for the prioritization of global public health benefits in academic medical research. UAEM was first formed in 2001 by a group of Yale University students who were in a reading group with Benkler, then visiting professor at YLS. The students helped convince Yale and the pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb to permit generic production of a critical Yale-discovered HIV/AIDS drug in sub-Saharan Africa, triggering dramatic 30-fold price reductions. Today, Benkler and Kapczynski write regularly on technology and political economy and have convened a recent academic symposium on the topic. Benkler has contested several current theories that suggest phenomena like automation of labor are inevitable or predetermined. Kapczynski has played a seminal role in the coalescing movement of “law and political economy” (LPE). The workshop will begin with presentations on the topic by the two speakers before moving to an informal discussion that will trace some lessons from activism, academia, and the relationship between the two.

Non-pizza lunch will be served.

Global Inequality Symposium: the past few decades have witnessed extraordinary growth on a global scale, but the chasm between rich and poor has widened to unprecedented depths. Despite decades of “development,” so much of the world continues to live in grinding poverty. The field of international development seeks to ameliorate conditions of poverty and deprivation, but does so against this background of growing inequality, itself shaped by legacies of colonialism, resource extraction, and rapid globalization.

With this in mind, the 2019 Harvard Law & International Development Society symposium centers on the themes of global inequality and economic justice. The symposium aims to interrogate the interaction of law, development, and international political economy. By emphasizing a “law and political economy” approach, the workshops hope to illuminate the historical, structural drivers of poverty, reveal the role of global governance in facilitating the “great divergence” between Global North and Global South, as well as shed light on potential solutions and interventions. The workshops strive to spark growing conversation on the systemic roots of global inequality, bringing together practitioners, academics, and students interested in engaging more critically with the topic. Workshops will focus on such issues as technology, intellectual property, and access to health; international investment and human rights; international finance and trade; and the role of law in shaping and correcting global inequality.


April 4, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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