The Strange Death of the International Liberal Order

Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 55, No. 23, pp. 75-85, 2010

11 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2010 Last revised: 15 Dec 2010

Date Written: December 7, 2010


The paper provides a historical context for recent changes in global and national governance in terms of the various models of social citizenship or what I call social constitutionalism. Using Hobsbawm’s notion of the ‘short twentieth century’ we argue that the twentieth century was not so much a struggle between different state forms but rather needs to be understood in the way these state forms reflect differing responses to the underlying social conflicts stemming from the development of capitalism and the emergence of working class and socialist movements. We argue that the post war liberal order can be identified in terms of a form of social constitutionalism that reflected twin social settlements: within advanced industrial countries and within the structures of the global multilateral system. The end of these two twin settlements has ushered in more coercive and regulatory global order and in this context the death of the post war liberalism can only be understood in terms of the collapse of the broader project of social democratisation that marked the short twentieth century.

Keywords: regulation, social constitutionalism, economic constitutionalism, liberalism, United Nations

Suggested Citation

Jayasuriya, Kanishka, The Strange Death of the International Liberal Order (December 7, 2010). Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 55, No. 23, pp. 75-85, 2010, Available at SSRN:

Kanishka Jayasuriya (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide ( email )

No 233 North Terrace, School of Politics
Adelaide, SA 5005, SA 5005

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