Distinguished visiting Professor Alain Supiot to give two public conferences [fr]

The first conference was entitled "The Enslavement of Law by Numbers : from the Gosplan to the Total Market."

From the Gosplan to the Total Market From a legal perspective, classical economic liberalism and communism had one essential difference: liberalism recognised that the rule of law was necessary for economic harmony, whereas communism used the law as a tool for implementing a harmony based on quantitative computations. The unholy union of capitalism and communism, which Europe and China celebrated towards the end of the 20th century, accelerated this process of subordinating the Law to Numbers. Classical liberals were aware that the unrestricted pursuit of individual interests would never lead to general prosperity unless the law set limits on individual greed. But neoliberals take the legal fictions, which ground the market, to be facts of nature. They mistake a construct for a given, and extend the paradigm of the market to all areas of human life, including the law, which is considered to be just another product competing on a market of norms.

Pragmatics :

  • Thursday may 12th
  • From 4pm through 5pm
  • Allard School of Law (Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies), room 122, 1822 East Mall, Vancouver.
  • Please register for this event here
    Reception to follow.


PDF - 656.3 kb
(PDF - 656.3 kb)

The second conference covered ILO constitution’s “humane conditions of labour".

The First World War contributed two at first sight contradictory things to the history of labour, but which are actually interdependent: the industrial management of “human material”; and the appeal in the Treaty of Versailles for “un régime du travail réellement humain” (“genuinely human work in humane conditions”). Ernst Jünger’s concept of “total mobilization” influenced conceptions of the Total State (Carl Schmitt) and totalitarianism (Hannah Arendt). Its heuristic value remains powerful, because it exists today in the new form of the Total Market, in which every existence is converted into a quantifiable resource and the inhabitants of every nation of the world are precipitated into an unceasing, and pitiless, economic war. How were these two legacies of the Great War articulated together? Is the pursuit of “humane conditions of labour” compatible with “the scientific organisation of work” and the total mobilization of human capital for a global competitive market? The answer will depend on the interpretation one gives of the notion of “genuinely human work.”


  • Thursday may 19th
  • From 4pm through 5pm
  • Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies’s seminar room, 6331 Crescent Rd, Vancouver.
    Reception to follow.


PDF - 509.3 kb
(PDF - 509.3 kb)

Dernière modification : 05/01/2018

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