Towards a Grand Unified Theory of International Economic Law
12:2 Manchester Journal of International Economic Law 140-166
33 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2014 Last revised: 22 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 2, 2014
This article offers chaos, a theory drawn from the physical sciences, as an explanatory model for international economic law which consists of the law of the WTO, international investment law, and the policies of the IMF and World Bank. The laws promulgated by these institutions as the central pillars of global economic governance are both indeterminate and susceptible to external influences, leading to unpredictable outcomes in the longer term, even if they appear deterministic on the small scale for individual states or firms. The observed chaotic nature of international economic law should be viewed as a benevolent feature of the system, as its inescapable unpredictability engenders flexibility and adaptability. These are traits which are valuable for both governments and firms operating in the dynamic global economy. The utility of international economic law should therefore not be judged by reference to macroeconomic benchmarks. The article concludes by suggesting that chaos theory may be seen as universal model that conceptually unifies the four disciplines of international economic law.
Keywords: International economic law, WTO, international investment law, international investment arbitration, IMF, World Bank
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