Publication Date: 22 May 2018
The Misery of International Law
Confrontations with Injustice in the Global Economy
- Examines the role of international law in constituting and sustaining injustice in the international economic order
- Offers a synthesis of approaches to exploring the pathologies across the international legal regimes of trade, investment, and finance combining insights from radical critiques, political philosophy, history, and critical development studies
- Explores ways in which international human rights law works against its own aims in reproducing the underlying terms of socio-economic immiseration
- Brings together three international law scholars to present a forceful case for ridding international law of its hallmarks of fostering poverty, inequality, and dispossession
Poverty, inequality, and dispossession accompany economic globalization. Bringing together three international law scholars, this book addresses how international law and its regimes of trade, investment, finance, as well as human rights, are implicated in the construction of misery, and how international law is producing, reproducing, and embedding injustice and narrowing the alternatives that might really serve humanity.
Adopting a pluralist approach, the authors confront the unconscionable dimensions of the global economic order, the false premises upon which they are built, and the role of international law in constituting and sustaining them. Combining insights from radical critiques, political philosophy, history, and critical development studies, the book explores the pathologies at work in international economic law today. International law must abide by the requirements of justice if it is to make a call for compliance with it, but this work claims it drastically fails do so. In a legal order structured around neoliberal ideologies rather than principles of justice, every state can and does grab what it can in the economic sphere on the basis of power and interest, legally so and under colour of law. This book examines how international law on trade and foreign investment and the law and norms on global finance has been shaped to benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of others. It studies how a set of principles, in the form of a New International Economic Order (NIEO), that could have laid the groundwork for a more inclusive international law without even disrupting its market-orientation, were nonetheless undermined. As for international human rights law, it is under the terms of global capitalism that human rights operate. Before we can understand how human rights can create more just societies, we must first expose the ways in which they reflect capitalist society and how they assist in reproducing the underlying terms of immiseration that will continue to create the need for human rights protection.
This book challenges conventional justifications of economic globalization and eschews false choices. It is not about whether one is “for” or “against” international trade, foreign investment, or global finance. The issue is to resolve how, if we are to engage in trade, investment, and finance, we do so in a manner that is accountable to persons whose lives are affected by international law. The deployment of human rights for their part must be considered against the ubiquity of neoliberal globalization under law, and not merely as a discrete, benevolent response to it.
Table of Contents
1. The Legal Rendering of Immiseration
2. Confronting Pathologies of International Law: From Neoliberalism to Justice
3. The End of Empire and the Search for Justice: NIEO and Beyond
4. International Trade: From War Capitalism to Contracts of Distribution
5. Foreign Investment: Property, Contract, and Protecting Private Power
6. Global Finance: Riches for the Few; Harm for the Many
7. Human Rights: Between the Radical and the Subverted
8. In Lieu of a Conclusion
John Linarelli, Associate Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy, LSE, ,Margot Salomon, Director of the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy at the LSE and Associate Professor in the Law of Department and Centre for the Study of Human Rights, ,Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah, CJ Koh Professor of Law, National University of Singapore,
John Linarelli is Professor of Commercial Law at Durham University, co-directs the Institute for Commercial and Corporate Law at Durham, and is a member of the Centre for Law and Global Justice at Durham.
Margot E Salomon is Associate Professor in the Department of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science and directs the interdisciplinary Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy at LSE Human Rights.
Muthucumaraswamy Sornarajah is CJ Koh Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore.
Reviews and Awards
“By resisting the artificial division between the political and the economic in the international legal order and insisting on an holistic analysis that faces up to international law’s long engagement with the projects of Western capitalism this excellent book breaks new ground in critical international law scholarship. Essential reading for scholars of international law and for everyone else who wants to understand the size and nature of the slippage between law and justice in the global order.” — Fiona Macmillan, Professor of Law, Birkbeck, University of London
“The Misery of International Law is a work for the ages. Aptly titled, this uniquely insightful and tremendously well researched book is the quintessential work of the intellect…They deftly, and convincingly, take down the fictions and contradictions of a scandalous international legal order. They show not only the inability of human rights to effectively confront economic powerlessness, but how instead it buttresses the same injustices. Their scholarship stands in the rarefied pantheon of the most illuminating international legal scholarship I have read to date. It complements the school of thought known as TWAIL, or Third World Approaches to International Law. I am confident that The Misery of International Law will become a standard by which critical international legal scholarship will be measured.”- Makau Mutua, SUNY Distinguished Professor, SUNY Buffalo Law School, The State University of New York
“This arresting book starts where many texts of international law leave off. It goes behind the rhetoric of rules-based systems and justice to study how power operates in the international economic system. The book shows how international law disguises and sustains the injustice of the international economic order. It is full of unsettling insights and uncomfortable observation, identifying and challenging the lawâs commitment to the private accumulation of transnational capital, including in the area of human rights. The Misery of International Law will change the terms of debates about international economic law.”- Professor Hilary Charlesworth AM, Melbourne Laureate Professor at Melbourne Law School, and Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University
“By resisting the artificial division between the political and the economic in the international legal order and insisting on an holistic analysis that faces up to international law’s long engagement with the projects of Western capitalism, this excellent book breaks new ground in critical international law scholarship. Essential reading for scholars of international law and for everyone else who wants to understand the size and nature of the slippage between law and justice in the global order.”- Fiona Macmillan, Professor of Law, Birkbeck, University of London
“A thoughtful, passionate and deeply engaging book that successfully unites radical and liberal critiques of international law into a powerful and unified call for economic justice. The authors pull no punches and deliver a sharply critical yet ultimately constructive account of international economic law, while embodying the kind of pluralist approach essential in any 21st century treatment of global justice. Linarelli, Salomon and Sornarajah help us understand just how far we have yet to go towards basic economic fairness on a global scale, and international laws complicity in this state of affairs. The authors paint a challenging and sobering picture, but if we are serious about working towards a better world, this is where we must begin. A necessary and welcome book.”- Frank J. Garcia, Professor and Deans Global Fund Scholar, Boston College Law School
“A searching critique of the ‘moral disorder of international economic law’ is here reinforced by the ‘pathologies’ of international law as whole, display versatile forms of highly ‘duplicitous normative forces’ at work. A more sustained philosophical and pragmatic critique of global capital is hard to come by; this work needs to be read by all to understand what alternatives look like, particularly in the advancing Anthropocene.”- Upendra Baxi, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Warwick and Distinguished Professor of Law, NLUD, Delhi