Bakan, Joel

University of British Columbia
09 May 2019 to 09 Jun 2019
Experience in Oñati: 

I am writing a popular non-fiction book and making a documentary film that revisits themes from my earlier work The Corporation. The book is under contract with Penguin Random House (in the United States and Canada) and is likely to be published in early 2020. While at IISL in Onati I worked on a chapter currently titled The Corporate Liberation Movement. It’s about the various ways corporations have fought, successfully, to free themselves from mandatory legal constraints. It draws on earlier work from a 2015 article in the Cornell International Law Journal (The Invisible Hand of Law) but also goes considerably beyond that article to question how it is, and what we should do about the fact, we’ve so quickly and completely given up on the notion democratic sovereignty includes states having robust command and control over corporations. It’s a middle chapter in what will likely be a six or seven chapter book. I made use of the library’s excellent collection, finding very helpful works on regulatory theory, voluntary codes, ISDS regimes, sovereignty, transnational corporations, and so on.
I have greatly enjoyed and found productive my stay at IISL and hope to come back soon. The library is well-resourced and a great place to work, the staff incredibly helpful, the residence and town wonderful. Though there were only a few other visiting scholars while I was here, we formed, along with Noe and Maite (the academic and administrative directors, respectively), a fun, warm, and stimulating group. I will miss the Institute and Onate and take with me very fond memories. I also appreciate the billiards table. My game has improved to passable, and it was a fun way to spend time at the residence.