Book Review: 'Towards Post-Modern Trade Relations?' A Review of Dennis Patterson and Ari Afilalo, 'The New Global Trading Order: The Evolving State and the Future of Trade'
Jurisprudence, Vol. 5, pp. 173-181 (2014)
Posted: 23 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
In the years since the publication of The New Global Trading Order: The Evolving State and the Future of Trade, Dennis Patterson and Ari Afilalo’s ideas have lost none of their originality and their call for reimagining the law and institutions of international trade governance remains an open challenge. The authors offer a long-term historical reframing of the relationship between trade regulation and the dominant role of the state. The analysis hinges on what the authors view as a radical shift away from the dominant model of the ‘modern’ welfare nation-state after the fall of the Iron Curtain. They argue that despite the world being ushered into a different era at this historical moment, the institutions, law and politics of trade governance remained largely unchanged. The analysis culminates in proposals for a new style of statecraft, and institutions to match, that would be better suited to the political and economic realities of our time. At the core of this transformative project lies the argument that ‘neither politics nor economics alone hold the key to unlocking solutions to the problems presented by global trade’ (Patterson and Afilalo at 1). Rather, the authors’ focus is on the relationship between the state and trade governance. They argue that the trade order reflects the dominant constitutional order of the state at different points in history, and the current crisis regarding statehood and trade governance stems from the unacknowledged disconnect between the present de facto role of the state and the de jure status quo of trade regulation. Perhaps most intriguingly, the book seeks to combine a post-modern approach to trade law and statecraft with what is in many ways a historical, progressive, rationalist perspective.
Keywords: trade, political theory
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