How Do We Get Along? International Economic Law And The Nation-State

25 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2018 Last revised: 29 Apr 2019

See all articles by Gregory Shaffer

Gregory Shaffer

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: September 13, 2018


This article responds to the arguments made by Dani Rodrik in his book Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy. It does so from the perspectives of international economic law and international law theory. The book calls for striking a different, better balance between economic globalization and the nation-state. It interweaves theory, empirics, and proposals in the tradition of economic pragmatism. Its focus on institutions, social context, and the importance of innovative, adaptive practice reflects new legal realism in legal scholarship. Part I assesses the book in light of transnational legal theory, analyzing the recursive relation of international and domestic law in an interconnected world. Part II views the book in terms of its lessons for international law theory from a new legal realist perspective. Part III concludes regarding what should be done and avoided in response to current crises. Decrying the risks to the “liberal international order” is not enough. We must also address the mistakes made so as to enhance policy space for nation-states. Otherwise economic integration could catalyze further social disintegration. Building inclusive, democratic societies at home will better ensure inter-state cooperation through international economic law. Their relationship is transnationally enmeshed.

Keywords: international economic law, international law theory, new legal realism, globalization and the nation-state

Suggested Citation

Shaffer, Gregory C., How Do We Get Along? International Economic Law And The Nation-State (September 13, 2018). Michigan Law Review, Vol. 117, No.1, April 2019, UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2018-57, Available at SSRN:

Gregory C. Shaffer (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92612
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics