Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Throwing Eggs at Windows: Legal and Institutional Globalization in the 21st-Century Economy

47 Pages Posted: 9 May 2011  

John W. Head

University of Kansas - School of Law

Date Written: May 4, 2011


Like an egg thrown at a window, economic globalization looks like an unstoppable force hurtling toward an immovable object – state sovereignty. Although the outcome is not sure, I believe the window will break, both because the window has become brittle and because the egg has a tough shell and much momentum. If so, we shall be opening a new chapter in legal and political organization, similar in some ways to an earlier chapter-opening era when the Westphalian state-centered system began. A key task we face now is to examine critically the main institutions of economic globalization – especially the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank – to see whether and how those institutions and the rules they administer can serve the interests of the world community in this new century. This article tries to set the stage for such an examination by identifying strengths and weaknesses of one of these institutions, the WTO. The article concludes that the WTO, if modified to overcome some important weaknesses, can serve a key role in a new, more complex framework of governance that relies on linkages among international organizations, states, private business interests, and non-government entities committed to civil society.

Keywords: globalization, international institutions

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Head, John W., Throwing Eggs at Windows: Legal and Institutional Globalization in the 21st-Century Economy (May 4, 2011). Kansas Law Review, Vol. 50, pp. 731-777, 2002. Available at SSRN:

John W. Head (Contact Author)

University of Kansas - School of Law ( email )

Green Hall
1535 W. 15th Street
Lawrence, KS 66045-7577
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views