In a digitally connected world, the question of how to respect, protect and implement human rights has become unavoidable. As ever more human beings, organizational systems and technical devices transition online, realizing human rights in online settings is becoming ever more pressing. When looking at basic human rights such as freedom of expression, privacy, free assembly or the right to a fair trial, all of these are heavily impacted by new information and communications technologies. While there have been many long-standing debates about the management of key Internet resources and the legitimacy of rules applicable to the Internet – from legal norms to soft law, from standards to code – it is only more recently that these debates have been explicitly framed in terms of human rights. The scholarly field that has grown in response to these debates is highly interdisciplinary and draws from law, political science, international relations, geography and even computer science and science and technology studies (STS). In order to do justice to the interdisciplinary nature of the field, this Research Handbook on Human Rights and Digital Technology: Global Politics, Law and International Relations unites carefully selected and reviewed contributions from scholars and practitioners, representing key research and practice fields relevant for understanding human rights challenges in times of digital technology.
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Ben Wagner, Matthias C. Kettemann and Kilian Vieth
Ainsley Elbra and Richard Eccleston
Blatant corporate tax avoidance has attracted the ire of politicians, citizens and consumers the world over in recent years. Since the financial crisis of 2008, international taxation has become a mainstream political issue championed by social justice campaigners and the progressive press the world over. Globally, governments and intergovernmental organisations have announced a range of reforms designed to ensure that MNCs pay their ‘fair share’ of tax, while some of the world’s most powerful and profitable firms have been subjected to multibillion-dollar fines.
Chapter 1 introduces governance as a legal issue, ultimately grounded in the philosophy of right, a branch of philosophy. Early legal theorists such as Hugo Grotius sketched versions of what is today called governance, and there is today a line of demarcation drawn between liberal economies of the Anglo-American type, and continental and Scandinavian embedded economies wherein the state is recognized as a major agent influencing the economic system. The chapter discusses the differences between John Locke’s liberal view of, e.g., ownership rights, and George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s philosophy of right, developed 14 decades later. Whereas Locke emphasizes a “minimal theory” of ownership rights, serving as the foundation for liberalism, Hegel too recognizes ownership as a fundamental right but locates ownership rights within the realm of the state. Consequently, the intellectual roots of liberal economies and embedded economies share certain assumptions but also diverge regarding assumptions about the role of the state. The second half of the chapter examines the creation of the Berle–Means firm, a key legal vehicle in the liberal economy and in its governance.
This chapter introduces the concept of governance as a key term when examining the current economic situation, including growing economic inequality. In order to understand such an economic and social phenomenon, analytical terms that bridge public companies, state-controlled agencies, and transnational regulators need to be introduced. The chapter introduces and critically discusses key terms in the governance literature, including corporate governance, transnational governance, and related terms such as accountability.