Constitutions of Value: Introduction to the Symposium

The contributions to this symposium are the first fruits of the research project “Constitutions of Value.” They are based on presentations and discussions at a workshop we convened at the University of Würzburg on 12 and 13 December 2019 (with funds made available by the state of Bavaria for the research network ForDemocracy). We had invited lawyers, an economist, a sociologist, a historian, a philosopher, and a commons activist to think about the role of law (together with politics, economics, technology and science) in co-constituting value and value practices. In this introduction we seek to explain what prompted us to assemble this multidisciplinary group to engage in and contribute to a legal study of value, what we hope to achieve with this project, and the challenges that it needs to face.

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How About an Anthropological Critique of Value?

What does an anthropological critique of value require? And what is the use, and challenge, of asking this question in relation to the law? The idea of ‘critique’ refers here to a frontal questioning of the notion of value, not to a contribution to a theory thereof: calling it ‘anthropological’ entails a focus on the constitution of meaning, with ‘value’ understood as a key cultural parameter of economic life, best expressed today in the imperatives of finance.

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Reform of International Corporate Tax Norms: A Value-Theoretical Perspective

Clair Quentin delivers a brief guide to the various schools of Marxian value theory generally encountered today, and what they would say about the distribution of the global corporate tax base if they were adopted as the theoretical basis for the OECD’s work in this area.

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We Need to Talk About Valuation in ISDS

There is a remarkably solid consensus in ISDS about how damages should be calculated. But why indeed should we care about the technicalities of valuation? Toni Marzal argues that this is a key question of major legal and political significance, that ought to attract as much attention as the issues of arbitral jurisdiction or investor rights. Beyond the sheer figures awarded against States, there are several major reasons to get interested in quantum-related matters.

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Law and the “Value” of Future Expectations: Climate Change, Stranded Assets and Capitalist Dynamics

In both direct and obvious ways, but also in ways that are often backgrounded and obscured, recent discussions that fossil fuel assets and infrastructures risk becoming “stranded assets” if legal regulations to limit global warming are imposed makes evident the critical role that law plays in (co-)constituting “value”.

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