Universal Economy: Reconsidering the Role of Ideas in the Multilateral Governance of Global Trade
24 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2018
Date Written: March 9, 2018
This paper explores the linkages between the doctrine of universal economy that was first articulated in late antiquity and the philosophical underpinnings of trade governance today. It contends that the doctrine was not replaced by modern economic theory, but rather continues to inform much of our theorizing about the place of trade in building and maintaining peace and stability. To this end it answers three research questions. First, what happened to the doctrine of universal economy? Second, why did the doctrine survive into the modern era when it has always been a controversial proposition? Finally, what are the implications for trade multilateralism and the future of trade policy? I suggest that when scholars of international political economy (IPE) consider institutional and legal development, they ought to approach ideas as historically-rooted, independent variables with a complex relationship to 21st century global governance.
Keywords: Trade, Multilateralism, International Political Economy, Liberalism
JEL Classification: B11, B25, F13, N43, Z12, Z13
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