Schedule while in Japan
Status of host operations and results
The plan for this year, based on the results achieved at the "Publicness Towards the 21st Century—Realizing Sen in Theory and Practice" international conference hosted by Ritsumeikan University in June 2003, is in a takeoff position for the holding of the "Ethics, Economics and Law: Combating Injustices" international conference in October 2005.
The June 2003 conference revealed that social choice theory and potential approaches that have been significantly developed by Professor Sen shed new light on themes in political philosophy which have been centrally discussed in the past, including democracy and rights. For example, issues discussed included what must be done to work toward realizing the rights of individuals based on a broad understanding regarding consequences, and what must be done in order to strike an appropriate balance between consideration for the rights of individuals and public interest in welfare and the environment. These indicate one of the points theoretically attained by Professor Sen, who has worked to reform the framework of modern economics into learning that truly contributes to human life, while making use of the theoretical tools of neoclassical economics.
The objective of the international conference planned to be held in October 2005 is to systematize in this manner these things as normative economics by widely checking new perspectives opened up by Professor Sen with the work of researchers, who are taking other approaches with an interest in the same problems, as well as viewing the new academic field of "normative legal economics," by tying this together with the view of other fields such as normative law and political philosophy.
This year, which is positioned between these two conferences, welcomed Professor Sen to Japan in collaboration with a symposium held centered on Hitotsubashi University Institute of Economic Research and the "International Meeting of the Society for Social Choice and Welfare" held at Osaka University, and served as a place for wide, cross-regional research exchange with Japanese researchers active in fields starting with theoretical economics and including development economics, legal philosophy, and political philosophy. Specifically, we held workshops with three different themes in three different places, and were able to have lively discussions at each while exchanging thoughts on conferences hosted by other institutions.
Contribution of invited researcher to host institutions
The number one result of this research exchange was that the three workshops revealed (i) possibilities for ways in which theories shaped by Professor Sen can develop the study of economics and (ii) possibilities for ways in which to connect economics and other academic fields. The research exchange was also successful in specifically formulating a plan for the 2005 international conference. The following is an overview of the discussions.
The "law and economics" movement that became active in the 1980s promoted the empirical study of legal theory. With the search for solutions to legal issues, the main interest in this was directed toward how to apply theories and analytical tools of modern economics (such as price theory, Pareto improvement, cost-benefit analysis, and evolutionary game theory). This has undoubtedly shown a certain degree of effectiveness in aspects of the subject of reconciliation between parties such as in private contracts and negotiations.
The reality is, however, that there are numerous injustices which are beyond the range of this. Examples of differences and disparities attributed to innate qualities and abilities as well as social origins resulting in social and economic disadvantages for certain people are too numerous to be counted. There are injustices that prevent fair market competition—social impediments that prevent equal participation in a market—and there are injustices that cannot be prevented in fair market competition—preservation of disparities due to chance, such as oneís initial endowment. It is difficult to deal with these issues with an empirical "law and economics" framework.
Meanwhile, as legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin correctly asserts, law is in essence a form of public morality and is characterized as expressing the principle framework of public order. Furthermore, the central issue in law is the question of how given laws and rules should be structured and how various concepts such as rights, welfare and justice should be institutionalized in order to support human dignity and good life against injustice. On the other hand, there is a tradition of moral science in economics in which economic systems are restructured from an ethical perspective, and new theories and methods for dealing with social justice are being developed. Professor Senís own theory is none other than one of these attempts.
What is being sought now is to take a new look at the relationship between law and economics while paying attention to these types of normative aspects possessed by law and economics. From the perspective of fighting against the numerous injustices that now exist and from an interdisciplinary perspective that does beyond existing academic fields, taking a new look at "law and economics" will most likely greatly contribute to restructuring economic, legal and political systems.
We would like to invite normative economists, political philosophers, legal philosophers and others, who are active throughout the world to the 2005 international conference and create a place for public discussion that normatively takes a new look at the modality of law and economics. The main interest will be theoretically and practically taking a new look at various concepts such as human dignity, rights and welfare and the modality of the system for supporting these concepts from the perspective of "combating injustices," and envisaging an economic system as well as a legal and political system that is just.
How many Nobel laureates in economic sciences have there been until now who have been able to directly appeal to views of life (how people live their lives) and views of the world (how people see the world)? How many can we expect there to be in the future? 1998 Nobel laureate in economic sciences Professor Amartya Sen is an extremely rare individual who can directly appeal to views of life and views of the world.
Crossing existing borders does not stop at Professor Senís academic characteristics. Professor Senís activities cross borders between countries, cross borders between fields of specialization, cross borders between learning and practice, and now continue to spread throughout the world. In Japan, as well, all of Professor Senís writings have been translated into Japanese and have captured a wide group of readers ranging from students and researchers to people beyond of academic circles. Through his lectures and workshops in various places in Japan, Professor Sen has made a strong impression on many people with his broad-minded character. Professor Sen has proactively praised the track record of Japanese researchers and students and given people opportunities and the courage to become active internationally, and many people still feel a deep sense of gratitude toward him.
Although different from the plan at the time of application, the plan to invite Professor Sen will end with the two years of 2003 and 2004. Unfortunately, carrying out the 2005 international conference with the JSPS Award for Eminent Scientists is no longer to be realized. Immediately after the completion of this plan, however, preparations for the 2005 international conference began steadily with the introductions of Professor Sen. Currently a number of economic philosophers and philosophers, beginning with legal philosopher Ronald Dworkin and political philosopher Philip Petit, have already agreed to come to Japan in October 2005 and proactively participate in the "Ethics, Economics and Law: Against Injustice" international conference.
As such, the results obtained from Professor Sen through this plan are immeasurable. I would like to express my sincere thanks to Professor Sen, who has sown many seeds, and to the JSPS Award for Eminent Scientists, which have provided fertile soil.