What is Development?: Reconciling Harvard Law School’s Rights-focused and Private Law-focused Groups
Jan. 20, 2014 – Raj Banerjee
This past year, every LIDS event has begun with the question: “What is development?” Even though we are the Law and International Development Society, we have no concrete vision of what development is. And we are wise in having none. At Harvard Law School, where we are based, those interested in international issues or development studies tend to fall into one of two categories: the human rights group, and the private international law/business group. The first group sees progress as the achievement of several individual rights: the right to food, education, clean water, freedom of speech, essential medicines. The second group focuses on economic growth, and the public and private infrastructure that stems from and feeds that growth.
One of our goals as an organization is to build a community at the intersection of law, policy and international development. And to build that community we need to reconcile the two categories listed above. Despite the significant overlap between these categories, students in one group rarely converse with those in the other. I remember attending a symposium on investor-state arbitration last year where a noted arbitrator was asked about how human rights law or environmental law factored … Read More »