Cosmopolitan Competition: The Case of International Investment
Cecilia Bailliet and Katja Aas, Cosmopolitan and its Discontents (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 178-204
14 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2012
Date Written: January 7, 2010
The contemporary international investment legal regime represents the perfect embodiment of commercial cosmopolitanism. Foreign investors are protected by a thickening web of bilateral (and trilateral) investment and trade treaties that provide for expansive property rights backed by secluded, fragmented but powerful and growing international arbitration. The appropriation of human rights standards and jurisprudence to disproportionately protect foreign investors plays into the critique of legal cosmopolitanism. Paradoxically, the current patchwork is partially the result of a successful ‘cosmopolitan from below’ archetype championed by these critics. This paper begins by examining investment regimes, counter-resistance and their endurance. It then moves to examine various roads to refor, asking whether the theologies of resistance and liberation, ‘cosmopolitanism to come’, provide a way forward or whether we need to accept or even celebrate the realities of political economy and tread a more pragmatic, State-centric and transnational legal path.
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