Transnational New Governance and the International Coordination of Nanotechnology Oversight

36 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2010  

Gary E. Marchant

Arizona State University - College of Law

Kenneth W. Abbott

Arizona State University

Lyn M. Gaudet

MINDSET

Douglas J. Sylvester

Arizona State University - College of Law

Date Written: April 29, 2010

Abstract

Two critical questions for the regulatory oversight of nanotechnology are: at what level of government should regulation take place, and what form should regulation take? These questions are intrinsically linked. As to the first, it is widely assumed that national governments are the appropriate locus of authority for regulating technologies, including nanotechnology. In this view, sub-national, international and private measures should all be relegated, at most, to subservient and tentative roles. As to the second question, since national governments are presumptively the appropriate regulators, often it is assumed that the traditional tools of governmental oversight - command-and-control regulations - are appropriate for addressing the risks of new technologies.

Despite this mainstream wisdom, we and others have argued that international coordination of national regulation would provide important benefits. International coordination promises to avoid many of the pitfalls experienced by prior technologies as a result of inconsistent national regulation. In addition, an international approach to regulation may create incentives for inter-state cooperation in trade, environmental protection, labor and the numerous other fields that nanotechnology will necessarily implicate.

We focus here on a third advantage of international coordination: it offers an opportunity for states to develop and promote new regulatory approaches that are both more flexible and responsive than command-and-control and better attuned to promoting the benefits of nanotechnology as well as controlling its risks. In particular, we argue that at the international level - or more appropriately, the transnational level - an approach that one of us has called “Transnational New Governance” is particularly suitable to addressing the challenges nanotechnology currently poses.

Suggested Citation

Marchant, Gary E. and Abbott, Kenneth W. and Gaudet, Lyn M. and Sylvester, Douglas J., Transnational New Governance and the International Coordination of Nanotechnology Oversight (April 29, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1597809 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1597809

Gary E. Marchant

Arizona State University - College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
(480) 965-3246 (Phone)
(480) 965-2427 (Fax)

Kenneth Wayne Abbott

Arizona State University ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
480-965-5917 (Phone)

Lyn M. Gaudet

MINDSET ( email )

2441 Ridgecrest Dr SE
Albuquerque, 87108
United States

Douglas J. Sylvester (Contact Author)

Arizona State University - College of Law ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

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