Campus News

Mitchell Lecture to address power and varying forms of capitalism in society

 "The Tantalus of to-day" illustration by J.S. Pughe, for Puck Magazine, 1897. Image courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress.

"The Tantalus of to-day" illustration by J.S. Pughe for Puck Magazine, 1897. Image courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress

By LISA M. MUELLER

Published November 7, 2018

“John Braithwaite is one of the world’s greatest scholars of regulation and governance. For 40 years he has consistently led the way in understanding and improving how societies channel behavior toward the broader public good. ”
Errol Meidinger, professor
School of Law

Today different kinds of capitalisms operate within one set of borders, and global connections exist among them. Liberal capitalisms take advantage of the absence of environmental and labor protections in authoritarian capitalist societies for factory production. Non-authoritarian capitalisms exploit internal authoritarian capitalisms particularly in their service sectors, as in the exploitation of illegal immigrants and human trafficking of sex workers.

The challenge of tempering power in a world of “variegated capitalisms” is the topic of the fall 2018 Mitchell Lecture, to be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Charles B. Sears Law Library in O’Brian Hall, North Campus.  The event, “Tempered Power, Variegated Capitalism, Law and Society,” is sponsored by the School of Law.

The lecture features John Braithwaite, distinguished professor at Australian National University’s School of Regulation and Global Governance, and co-founder of RegNet, a community of interdisciplinary scholars united by an interest in governance and regulation.

“John Braithwaite is one of the world’s greatest scholars of regulation and governance,” says Errol Meidinger, professor of law and director of the Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy. “For 40 years he has consistently led the way in understanding and improving how societies channel behavior toward the broader public good.

“In this path-breaking presentation, he will address the challenges of doing so in a world of ‘variegated capitalism’ — i.e., one in which the fundamental economic structures to be dealt with vary greatly among sectors and fields, both within and among societies. I am confident he will do so in clear, accessible language that will also be a feast of rich, fruitful ideas.”

Braithwaite is a former trustee of the Law and Society Association. He has worked with many national governments and the United Nations on topics such as peacebuilding, crime and business regulation, and formulating responsive regulatory theory and restorative justice. Active in social movement politics, his most recent book is “Cascades of Violence: War, Crime and Peacebuilding in South Asia” (2018 ANU Press, with Bina D’Costa).

Mitchell Lecture presentations are free and open to the public.

The Mitchell Lecture Series, the law school’s signature lecture series, was endowed in 1950 by a gift from Lavinia A. Mitchell in memory of her husband, James McCormick Mitchell. An 1897 graduate of the Buffalo Law School, Mitchell later served as chairman of the Council of the University of Buffalo, which was then a private university.

Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered the first Mitchell Lecture in 1951, titled “Wartime Security and Liberty Under Law.” The lecture was published that year in the first issue of the Buffalo Law Review.

Other speakers have included C. Edwin Baker, Derrick Bell, Barry Cushman, Carol Gilligan, Elizabeth Holtzman, Irene Zubaida Khan, Stewart Macaulay, Catharine MacKinnon, Carrie Menkel-Meadow, John Payton, Richard Posner, Hon. James Robertson and Clyde Summers.

Further information is available online.