Free Trade: What is it Good for? Globalization, Deregulation, and 'Public Opinion'
University of Southampton - School of Law
University of Southampton - Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences
Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 36, Issue 1, pp. 11-31, March 2009
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 21
Date posted: April 27, 2009