The rise of economic liberalism in the latter stages of the 20th century coincided with a fundamental transformation of international economic governance, especially through the law of the World Trade Organization. In this book, Andrew Lang provides a new account of this transformation, and considers its enduring implications for international law. Against the commonly-held idea that 'neoliberal' policy prescriptions were encoded into WTO law, Lang argues that the last decades of the 20th century saw a reinvention of the international trade regime, and a reconstitution of its internal structures of knowledge. In addition, the book explores the way that resistance to economic liberalism was expressed and articulated over the same period in other areas of international law, most prominently international human rights law. It considers the promise and limitations of this form of 'inter-regime' contestation, arguing that measures to ensure greater collaboration and cooperation between regimes may fail in their objectives if they are not accompanied by a simultaneous destabilization of each regime's structures of knowledge and characteristic features. With that in mind, the book contributes to a full and productive contestation of the nature and purpose of global economic governance.
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Lang utilizes historical narrative to give us a well organized and easy-to-read overview of the evolution of international trade agreements after the Second World War ... Lang's contribution to the analysis of the impact of economic globalization and neo-liberalism on the structure of economic governance is both methodologically and conceptually distinctive. ( Ljiljana Biukovic. The Canadian Yearbook of International Law 2012)
Lang is not the first author to have traced the ideational changes that contributed to the neoliberal transformation of trade law. However, it seems fair to say that no other author has paid such careful attention to the role of legal ideas in this story. Lang shows how changing ideas about trade have been linked to changing modes of legal analysis. He illustrates these changes with concrete examples taken from the decisions of GATT and WTO adjudicative bodies. And, in doing so, he demonstrates how legal ideas have had broader ideational and material consequences. ( Derek McKee, Transnational Legal Theory)
Lang's contribution is one of the most legally far-reaching, methodologically acute, and sociologically attentive accounts thus far. Lang's socio-political sensibility is distinguished because he employs an expansive category of social legal actors, thereby situating trade law within the politics of global struggles. His style is also unique because he parses how history informs the present. And most importantly, he studies how different legal theories are created from this con- text and how those theories affect the practice of trade law. ( Michael Fakhri, Global Law Books)
Lang's book is a thorough, original, and quite needed deconstructivist analysis of the "neo-liberal turn" read in a historical and theoretical context. The book nicely deconstructs all prevailing notions in the field, with in-depth reading of the WTO cases and trends, to show how such notions have emerged (and contrasted) historically and used as a means to an end by different groups. This is a rather intelligent exercise that does justice to the bulk of rhetoric which is massively present not only in the media (as predictable), but also (unfortunately) in the scientific literature. ( Carlo Focarelli, IYIL)
Lang has pointed us down an important road. Lets go down it. ( Simon Lester, Journal of International Economic Law)
This book laudably challenges the comfortable story the WTO likes to hear about itself. ( Professor JHH Weiler, NYU School of Law)
A path-breaking study which no-one interested in world trade and global justice can afford to ignore. Lang's new history of the 'neoliberal turn' in international trade law has far-reaching implications for how we reorient trade for the benefit of humanity as a whole. If 'trade linkage' ('trade and human rights', etc.) has been the dominant approach, he shows that our real challenge is to renew the simple - but, in the WTO, largely discredited - idea that trade governance implicates not just private interests, but collective purposes as well. This is a marvellous book, written with unpretentious grace and pellucid clarity. ( Susan Marks, Professor of International Law, London School of Economics)
World Trade Law After Neoliberalism is an imaginative and wide-ranging reassessment of the foundations and the prospects of the world trading system. The author, a fine legal scholar with an excellent grasp of the social science of international institutions, places the achievements of WTO law and jurisprudence in a broad perspective, informed by many of the tumultuous political and economic events of recent times. With the collapse of the WTO Doha negotiations imminent, this book is must-reading for anyone seeking to understand what has happened and where we go from here. ( Robert Howse, Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law, NYU School of Law)
Lang's contribution is one of the most legally far-reaching, methodologically acute, and sociologically attentive accounts thus far. Lang's socio-political sensibility is distinguished because he employs an expansive category of social legal actors, thereby situating trade law within the politics of global struggles. His style is also unique because he parses how history informs the present. And most importantly, he studies how different legal theories are created from this context and how those theories affect the practice of trade law.
Lang employs a constructivist framework and puts much emphasis on the 'ideational' dimension of the trade regime. He provides a rich and detailed analysis that certainly lives up to the book's promise. ( Ruben Zandvliet, Leiden Journal of International Law)
Andrew Lang is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the London School of Economics, teaching Public International Law, with a specialty in International Economic Law. He is a co-founder, with Colin Picker, of the Society of International Economic Law. He sits on the Editorial Boards of the Modern Law Review, the Journal of International Economic Law and the Law and Development Review, and is a Book Review Editor for the International and Comparative Law Quarterly. He has taught on the World Trade Institute's Masters of International Law and Economics (MILE) program, the University of Barcelona's IELPO course, as well as the IIEM Academy of International Trade Law in Macau. Andrew has a combined BA/ LLB degree from the University of Sydney, receiving the University Medal in both degrees. His PhD is from the University of Cambridge, graduating in May 2005. From 2004-2006, he was the Gott Research Fellow in Law at Trinity Hall, at the University of Cambridge.
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