On 9 December 2010, Patrick Glenn, Henry G. Schermers Fellow 2010/11, will take part in a session on cosmopolitanism entitled ‘In search of a Cosmopolitan Commons’. This session is part of a colloquium organised by the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Science (TILT) and the Royal Academy (KNAW) entitled ‘The Challenge of Regulatory Cosmopolitanism’. Glenn also contributed a paper for an edited volume that will appear as part of the Colloquium.
About the Colloquium – ‘Regulatory cosmopolitanism’ relates to two quests that are characteristic of global governance. The first, a cultural quest, is the search for common values, for values that demand respect by more than one community in the way, perhaps, that Europeans have tried to establish a moral boundary marker against patentability or the way in which human rights and human dignity are increasingly proclaimed as non-negotiable. The second quest, reflected in the work of the WTO, WIPO etc, is of a commercial and economic nature. Essentially, it is a quest for agreed ground rules for trade.
To the extent that the first project succeeds, there are questions about how this then links to the second project. And, to the extent that the second project succeeds, there are questions about how far it can permit local trading communities to carve out exceptions on cultural grounds. However, there is a deep scepticism that insists that, even if there were agreement as to fundamental values, this would not be sufficient to give the agreed values any justificatory force.