Free Trade: What is it Good for? Globalization, Deregulation, and 'Public Opinion'

21 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2009  

Emily Reid

University of Southampton - School of Law

Jenny Steele

University of Southampton - Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences

Abstract

Deliberation is an essential element in legitimate and sound decision making. The deliberative ideal has much resonance with ideas of ‘localization’, employing the value of local and applied knowledge. Participation is also of particular value under globalization. We argue that the capacity of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to absorb and reflect participatory aspects of decision making is crucial to its future legitimacy and status. Should the WTO be seen as one of the darker forces of globalization? Or as an emerging institution of global accountability? The latter depends upon recognition that the potential deregulatory effect of the WTO is contingent, and that the liberalization of international trade should enhance welfare, rather than be a goal in its own right. Deliberative solutions require a strong public sphere, and we therefore consider whether solutions based on ‘empowered consumer choice’, rather than public deliberation, are unsatisfactory responses to the deregulatory impact of international trade disputes and their outcomes.

Suggested Citation

Reid, Emily and Steele, Jenny, Free Trade: What is it Good for? Globalization, Deregulation, and 'Public Opinion'. Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 36, Issue 1, pp. 11-31, March 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1394729 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2009.00454.x

Emily Reid (Contact Author)

University of Southampton - School of Law ( email )

Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

Jenny Steele

University of Southampton - Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences ( email )

Southampton, SO17 1BJ
Great Britain

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