Professors Milena Sterio and James Wilson spoke at last week’s Central States Law Schools Association Conference at the University of Toledo College of Law. Sterio spoke on her work on piracy in Somalia. Wilson presented his work on three chapters of his upcoming book, The Structure of Class War.
The chapters Wilson discussed are titled, respectively, “The One,” “The Few,” and “The Many.” The book’s primary technique consists of using the wisdom of the ancient Greeks and The Buddha to demonstrate that most modern conservatives are not very conservative, most liberals not very compassionate, most Republicans not very republican, and most Democrats not very democratic.
Wilson’s three chapters apply the ancient Greeks’ distinction between governments ruled by the one, the few, and the many, to the United States and the global economy. The chapter on the “One” first compares the symbiotic relationship between the President and the CEOs of major corporations, who are, to use Max Weber’s term, “monocrats.” The rest of the chapter uses Plato’s political morality to help criticize Professor Posner and Vermeule’s proposal that the President should not be constrained by either “the rule of law” or “separation of powers.” For example, Plato believed that the best practicable form of government consisted of a wise king who was limited by “the rule of law” created by a public assembly.
The chapter on the “Few” contrasts Plato’s defense of an aristocratic conception of “justice” in The Republic with competing conceptions of “injustice.” The Republic contains much of continuing value and much to fear. The next part of the chapter considers Aristotle’s responses, which simultaneously clarifies lingering analytical problems surrounding the “one, the few, and the many” and provides justifications for a republican form of government instead of an aristocratic one. The final part employs and extends the economic distinction between “predatory” and “productive” modes of wealth accumulation to argue that the political economy of the United States has become increasingly predatory, a precursor to imperial decline.
Professor Sterio spoke on her work on piracy in Somalia. According to her abstract, the rise of piracy off the coast of Somalia over the last five years has been spectacular, amounting to a true crisis in international law. During the first six months of 2011, Somali pirates attacked 163 ships and took 361 sailors hostage. As of June 30, 2011, Somali pirates were holding 20 ships and 420 crew members, demanding millions of dollars in ransom for their release. Moreover, pirates have been attacking larger ships, such as oil tankers, and using more potent weapons, such as rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. Pirates have also been attacking during monsoon season, an otherwise risky endeavor. According to the International Maritime Bureau Director, Pottengal Mukundan, “[i]n the last six months, Somali pirates attacked more vessels than ever before and they’re taking higher risks.”
Sterio concludes that piracy has increased shipping expenses, costing an estimated $10 billion per year in global trade. She poses and responds to the following questions: What has sparked this international law crisis off the coast of Somalia? What can the international community do in order to alleviate the crisis and prevent piracy from spreading to other regions of the world? What should be the way forward?
Professor Sterio, currently Vice President of the CSLSA, was elected President for the upcoming year. The Central States Law Schools’ Association, is a regional consortium of law schools which has attracted member schools such as Toledo, Akron, Albany Law School, Michigan State, Louisiana State, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Texas Tech, Northern Kentucky, SMU, etc. With Sterio as President, it is likely that C|M|LAW will be the host of next year’s CSLSA annual conference.
For more information about the Central States Law Schools Association, click here: http://cslsa.us.