Benjamin R. Jones brings a wide range of experience to VLS, including graduate studies in philosophy in Belgium, a career as a bush pilot in northern Canada, and five years working as an administrator on an Indian Reserve in British Columbia. Benjamin obtained his JD from Vermont Law School and an MPhil in Environmental Policy from University of Cambridge in 2012. In 2013, along with Benjamin Sovacool and Roman Sidortsov, he co-authored a book on global energy systems entitled Energy Security, Equality, and Justice, which was published by Routledge in December 2013.
Benjamin transferred his PhD from Cambridge to the University of Victoria in British Columbia in 2013, in order to work with Andrew Newcombe, an international authority on international investment agreements. His research focuses on international investment law, using an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates international law, economics, philosophy and history, as well as environmental law and policy. Drawing on the work of the English economic historian R. H. Tawney, his research examines the implications of a political economy that emphasizes individual rights (especially property rights) over the social functions of economic activity. International investment treaties can be viewed as the culminating point of this development, as they allow private investors to make property rights claims against sovereign states, potentially influencing how domestic regulatory frameworks designed to protect public goods such as the environment are structured. The goal of Benjamin's research is to provide insights into how the rights and obligations that inhere in the concept of investment should be conceived.