The Chaos Machine: The WTO in a Social Entropy Model of the World Trading System
34:2 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 353-374 (2014)
29 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2012 Last revised: 8 Jun 2014
Date Written: November 6, 2012
This article applies social entropy theory to the field of international trade law, suggesting that the observed degradation of the world trading system towards disorder is the consequence of insufficient 'energy' inputs in the form of effective, centralized legal and focused institutional frameworks. In support of this claim, the article draws attention to recognized institutional and substantive deficiencies in the World Trade Organization (‘WTO’) including trade round negotiation impasse, the rise of bilateralism, legal indeterminacy and inadequate enforcement procedures. These phenomena represent increasing disorganization, or entropy, in the world trading system, characterized most notably by growing income inequality between states and failure to achieve progress in further trade liberalization. While it does not propose either specific predictions or practical solutions to the dilemma of social entropy in the world trading system, the article does suggest that a more robust, authoritative and trade focused WTO is essential to counter the entropic tendencies within the supra-national trading system. This should help to ensure future growth and achieve the fuller distribution of economic prosperity through global trade.
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