(Un)Sustainable Development(s) in International Economic Law: A Quest for Sustainability

Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4022; DOI: 10.3390/su10114022.

Posted: 16 Nov 2018

See all articles by Anna Aseeva

Anna Aseeva

Higher School of Economics

Date Written: August 1, 2018


This article aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on post-capitalist economy by exploring the contours of a sustainability-oriented model of economic governance. To this end, the article analyzes the issues of sustainable development in the three main strands of international economic law (trade, investment, and finance) at national and transnational levels. The analysis reveals a policy interdependence between international economic law and sustainable development. The latter hence represents a specific regulatory construct that aims at compensating the losses of exhaustible resources with investments in technology and knowledge. This, however, merely justifies and legitimizes the over-exploitation of certain parts of the globe, including not only their natural resources, but also human and other capitals. To overcome these unsustainable models, the article proposes a paradigm shift away from the standard of sustainable development in international economic law, towards one of sustainability. The idea is to replace sustainable development with sustainable economy. Law can act as a trigger of such a shift through ensuring trust and cooperation between public institutions, private companies, civil society, local communities, and individual citizens.

Keywords: sustainability law, social justice, degrowth, low-carbon sharing economy, progressive sustainability agenda

JEL Classification: K1, K2, K23, K3, K32, K33, O1, O23, O24, O4, O43

Suggested Citation

Aseeva, Anna, (Un)Sustainable Development(s) in International Economic Law: A Quest for Sustainability (August 1, 2018). Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4022; DOI: 10.3390/su10114022. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3278577

Anna Aseeva (Contact Author)

Higher School of Economics ( email )


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