Conclusion to the Symposium “Constitutions of Value”

Here in conclusion, we will not offer a unitary encapsulation of the project as a whole. The contributions are sufficiently diverse, sometimes in disagreement, and any such effort would be premature at this stage. Instead, we are interested to sketch the possibilities going forward for our inquiries into notions of value and value practices, on the basis of what we have assembled here in this symposium. To do this, let us take a step back, to ask a broad question: What makes our questions about value intelligible, and what makes them intelligible now?

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Hospitality Ltd

But how do jurists and legal theorists read and write Airbnb’s story? Do they narrate it as a Cinderella story, the fairy-tale rise to power and glory of three drudges? Do they recount the story of a rare and fantastic ‘unicorn’, a start-up company that reached a $1 billion valuation? Do they retell the ballad of Robin Hood, a heroic outlaw, who robbed the rich to give to the poor, a model of ingenuity, altruism, and popular justice? Do they adopt the economic rhetoric of competition, describing the relations between Airbnb and hotels, and between Airbnb and states, as David-and-Goliath battles between stodgy giants and an innovative newcomer? Do they warn Little Red Riding Hood against the Big Bad Wolf? Or do they caution the three bears about Goldilocks, the gentrifier?
To problematize the valuation of hospitality, this blogpost examines the interplay between different dispositifs that, so to speak, value ‘hospitality’ – tourism, and also migration and citizenship.

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On the Value of Human Rights

Florian Hoffmann analyses the left critique of rights and Marx’s account of the function of liberal rights as both a necessary legal infrastructure for the ‘free’ market exchange of commodified labour – and, hence, as an element of the system underlying the constitution and extraction of surplus value – as well as an ideological configuration that obscures the inequality of the (rights-based) exchange relationship through the semblance of equal rights.
Is this really all there is to rights in/under capitalism? And are there sufficiently strong and evident alternatives so as to obviate rights (activism) all together?

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Value as Potentiality – Blockchain and the Age of Institutional Challenges

For many, blockchain’s social value derives from its potential to foster freedom, neutrality, openness and transparency; or simply from the implication that otherwise is within the possible. But Bitcoin and blockchain are not all potential; limitations apply. And if confined to their ‘mainstream’ uses, private blockchain systems boost efficiency in producing value in its monetary sense and reinforcing global value chains.

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The Constitutional Theory of the Firm and Varieties of Capitalism

In this blog post, Jamee K. Moudud argues that labor relations are conflictual and corporations are fundamentally political creatures who have always attempted to structure the legal and political foundations of the economy so as to further their investment activities. Thus, corporations will generally oppose progressive reforms, especially if they raise costs.

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The Global Forex Market and the Legal Constitution of Money

In this post, I reflect on the relationship between the multi-trillion-dollar forex market in which fiat currencies are traded and contemporary debates over the legal nature and administration of money. Anna Chadwick suggests that the constitutional study of money should be extended to the legal instruments that establish the forex market.

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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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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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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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