Caliban’s Burden: Applicability of the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) to St. Vincent and the Grenadines: A Step Towards Uniformity, Synthesis, or Interpretive Injustice in International Contracts
Posted: 3 Oct 2010 Last revised: 17 Nov 2010
Date Written: October 1, 2010
This paper will explore the multifaceted legal, social and political cultures that exist in the Commonwealth Caribbean. This paper supports adoption of the U.N. Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) by countries in the region based on the premise that the goal should not be to promote uniformity in a normative sense, but to arrive at a synthesis of a legal tradition that is often bogged down in a simmering vat of indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, colonial, and post-colonial ideologies. The final question this paper seeks to answer is whether international treaties like the CISG can operate within the confines of Caribbean legal traditions in a practical way to move the former Commonwealth nations towards equity in the area of international trade.
International treaties spring from a desire to unify the world – to establish a sort of universal “common sense.” This desire is based on the assumption that the global economy operates within a particular social formation, constructed from specific ideological discourses. But, at the intersubjective juncture of law, politics, and culture, well-meaning discourses become ensnared by different winds of doctrine. Historically, the junction of commerce has been the legal space for the battles of legal interpretation.
The United Nation Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (hereinafter CISG) is one of these legal instruments that is on an idealized quest to remove linguistic, and cultural nuances from the space of international trade. The CISG provides that the adoption of uniform rules, which govern contracts for the international sale of goods should take into account the different social, economic and legal culture as a means of ending injustice in the area of international trade. But this push for international uniformity is a double-edged sword because while the countries in the developed world upholds the CISG as the salve to soothe the wounds of global trade barriers, some countries in the developing world are wary that the Treaty is another agent of imperialist ideology.
Keywords: Commonwealth, Caribbean, CISG, International Sales, Contract, Convention on International Sale of Goods
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