Thursday, 6 May 2010

Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance - 51st Weekly Meeting

Dear all

The 51st meeting of the Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance on Friday 7 May 2010, from 6.00 to 8.00pm, in room 5.16, 309 Regent Street (University of Westminster) will deal with globalisation and exceptionality in the financial regulation.

It is obvious that Goldman is losing the public relations war and that Blankfein should lose his job as a matter of answering the public call for blood. When the Financial Reform Bill passes with the Volcher rule, GS and the other Wall St investment banks will continue in much stronger fashion. The regulatory cut off line of $50bn with the FDIC managing banks below and the Fed Reserve managing those above means that big banks (not taxpayers!) will be "protected" by a tax which is triflingly meaningless in comparison to the size of trading. The regulators have forgotten the first lesson of Plato's Laws – absolute population size matters.

When we study law without philosophy we are undertaking a service for the dark discipline of destroying the many-leaves of inner-life. Beware of the media mandating the categories of our subjectivities! On Friday, the Philosophical Foundations of Law and Finance suggest two options for enlightening the legal debates on financial regulation.

We can start reading neo-Marxists like Hardt and Negri (2000, Empire, Harvard University Press. Available at to appreciate the "meanings" of global regulations as instruments of controlling the inner subjectivities of biopolitics. Also, systemic risk from a neo-global Empire perspective is enforced by the exceptionality of regulations – that is, in regulations being justified in the name of these so-called "emergency situations" whose magnitude and probability are mediagenically amplified by social network gossip. We cannot extract ourselves from this chat once we get in. Systems communication a la Luhmann is that the power projected through the media organises, re-orders, and sets out risk symmetries that trap us all. The Greek tragedy and the Goldman farce re-order our thoughts to bow to the communicative power of Empire. We should shelter ourselves because our outer material world could be a lot better as our inner world becomes more narrowly sliced and diced by digital communication systems.

Alternatively, we can get a great introduction to the concept of globalization by beginning reading Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor (

Either way, we shall gather at Vapiano (19-21 Great Portland Street, W1W 8QB) from 8pm onwards.

See you on Friday!
Joe and Laura

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