Stabilizer, Servant and Seductress - Economic Nationalism and the Use of Law

20 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2018

See all articles by Lys Kulamadayil

Lys Kulamadayil

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)

Date Written: September 8, 2018

Abstract

This paper explores the nuanced use of international law by the World Bank in its 2017 World Development Report. The report notes that law increasingly provides the common language for contestation among very different actors. It further praises the importance of the rule of law and of legal institutions in securing economic growth, property rights and social justice. Remarkable attention is dedicated to the role of constitutions as objects of political bargaining and ordering. In departing from the premise that the purpose of publications such as the World Development Reports is to assert the World Bank’s authority vis-à-vis social movements, this paper proposes that in law, the Bank finds normative support for its authority. As articulated in this report, international law becomes its servant and seductress for the liberal-globalist vision of social and economic ordering that the World Bank seeks to promote. However, how does this report speak to populist economic nationalism – a movement that is demonstrably non-receptive to the legitimacy of the idea(s) of international law? The paper does not offer a definitive answer to this question, but rather demonstrates how this question has become relevant.

Keywords: World Bank, International Law, Economic Nationalism, Functions of law

Suggested Citation

Kulamadayil, Lys, Stabilizer, Servant and Seductress - Economic Nationalism and the Use of Law (September 8, 2018). European Society of International Law (ESIL) 2018 Research Forum (Jerusalem), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3246187 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3246187

Lys Kulamadayil (Contact Author)

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, CH-1211
Switzerland

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