Global Law and Plunder: The Dark Side of the Rule of Law

LAW & GLOBALIZATION, Bocconi School of Law Student-Edited Papers, ed., VDM Publishing, 2009

Bocconi School of Law Student-Edited Papers No. 2009-03/EN

19 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2009 Last revised: 13 Nov 2012

See all articles by Ugo Mattei

Ugo Mattei

UC Hastings Law

Marco de Morpurgo

University of Milan - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 22, 2009

Abstract

The 'rule of law' has traditionally been conceived as an intrinsically positive and politically neutral 'tool', universally valid and capable of being 'exported' everywhere. This paper - which represents a synthetic exposition of the ideas expressed in Ugo Mattei and Laura Nader, Plunder: When the Rule of Law is Illegal (Blackwell Publishing, Oxford 2008) - asserts that such an ambiguous concept has a bright and a dark side, the latter being excluded from any public discussion. The rhetoric of the 'rule of law' has been used by Western powers in order to justify interventions (mainly) into the 'developing' world, that ultimately turned into practices of plunder, allowing the expansion of Western economic power over the 'rest', thus backing a claim that the rule of law has been used 'illegally'. Intellectual myopia, ethnocentrism and imperial attitudes stand behind the conception of the rule of law that currently wraps international financial institutions - today’s global legislators - reform projects in the 'developing world'. The transformation of the concept of ‘law’ into that of a 'technicality', the globally dominant position enjoyed by U.S. law and the imperial attitude of today’s Western international corporate actors are some of the elements that show a pattern of continuity between colonialism and today's neo-liberal policy.

Keywords: Imperial Law, Plunder, Ugo Mattei, Structural Adjustment Programmes, Comprehensive Development Frameworks, Law and Economics, Neoliberalism, Neocolonialism, Bocconi Legal Papers

Suggested Citation

Mattei, Ugo A. and de Morpurgo, Marco, Global Law and Plunder: The Dark Side of the Rule of Law (July 22, 2009). LAW & GLOBALIZATION, Bocconi School of Law Student-Edited Papers, ed., VDM Publishing, 2009, Bocconi School of Law Student-Edited Papers No. 2009-03/EN, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1437530 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1437530

Ugo A. Mattei

UC Hastings Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Marco De Morpurgo (Contact Author)

University of Milan - Faculty of Law ( email )

Via Festa del Perdono, 7
20122 Milano
Italy

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