'Economic' Issues and Political Participation: The Evolving Boundaries of International Federalism
Kenneth W. Abbott
Arizona State University
Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 18, p. 971, 1996
John McGinnis has framed the issues in the symposium of which this article is a part, with a provocative paper on the “regime of international federalism.” The structures of federalism have an important place in international governance. Yet the pure model of international federalism endorsed by McGinnis depends on the existence of sharp intellectual boundaries, between the market and other social and political activity and between civil society, on one hand, and national governments and international regimes, on the other. These distinctions are difficult to sustain at the close of the twentieth century.
McGinnis's libertarian ideology also leads him to oversimplify his description of economic and political structures and to ignore competing normative conceptions. This article outlines several developments that show the world to be more complex than McGinnis’s model suggests: the two sets of boundaries on which the model depends are in fact fluid, indistinct and constantly evolving. In particular, the "market" has not been a truly autonomous category, separate from other social and political structures, values, and activities, for most of the twentieth century. In addition, individuals, firms, interest groups, and other associations now pursue their political and social interests transnationallyh as well as within their own countries, empowered by new conceptions of "international civil society."
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: International law, Politics, Economics
Date posted: May 18, 2009
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