The Future of the WTO: From Authoritarian 'Mercantilism' to Multilevel Governance for the Benifit of Citizens?

Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 45-80, March 2011

36 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2011

See all articles by Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann

Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW)

Date Written: March 2, 2011

Abstract

European economic and environmental law demonstrates that constitutional and cosmopolitan conceptions of international economic and environmental regulation can protect consumer welfare and equal rights of citizens more effectively than “Westphalian conceptions” of “international law among sovereign states”. The obvious “governance failures” to conclude the Doha Round negotiations and prevent the financial crisis since 2008, climate change and unnecessary poverty are due to multilevel “regulatory failures”, including lack of leadership by the G20 countries for protecting the “global public goods” of an efficient world trading, financial, environmental and transnational rule of law system. Mercantilist conceptions of “member-driven governance” and of inadequate “reciprocal concessions” neglect the “horizontal” as well as “vertical” interrelationships between national, regional and global public goods and the need for their democratic support and legitimization by citizens and parliaments. The “systemic failures” of intergovernmental power politics based on “legal nationalism” are discussed by using the analytical tools of “public goods theory” and “constitutional theory” focusing on five “collective action problems” impeding effective protection of interdependent, citizen-driven “public goods”. The main hypothesis of the paper is that efficient and legitimate, multilevel governance of interdependent trading, environmental and development systems requires stronger “stakeholder participation” and protection of transnational “rule of law” for the benefit of citizens as a constitutional restraint on the “rule by men”, their “rule by law” and the “ubiquity” of selfish abuses of public and private regulatory powers.

Keywords: collective action problems, constitutionalism, Doha Round, European economic law, governance failures, multilevel governance, public goods, rule of law, WTO

Suggested Citation

Petersmann, Ernst-Ulrich, The Future of the WTO: From Authoritarian 'Mercantilism' to Multilevel Governance for the Benifit of Citizens? (March 2, 2011). Asian Journal of WTO & International Health Law and Policy, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 45-80, March 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1822942

Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann (Contact Author)

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze
Italy

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