International Economic Law in the 21st Century: Need for Stronger “Democratic Ownership” and Cosmopolitan Reforms
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Most worldwide monetary, financial, trade and environmental agreements fail to protect international public goods (like prevention of climate change, transnational rule of law for the benefit of citizens) effectively and do not even mention human rights and consumer welfare. This contribution argues that the prevailing “Westphalian conceptions” of international economic law (IEL) as “international law among states”, “global administrative law”, multilevel economic regulation and international “conflicts law” must be “civilized” and “constitutionalized” by limiting multilevel governance through legal and judicial protection of cosmopolitan rights empowering citizens – as “democratic owners of IEL” – to hold their government agents more accountable for their obvious “governance failures”. Sections 1 to 10 discuss ten areas of IEL where the need for stronger protection of human rights is increasingly recognized. Sections 11 and 12 infer from the citizen-driven transformations of international investment law and European common market law that “market failures”, “governance failures” and related abuses of public and private power in international economic relations can be limited by empowering citizens and “courts of justice” to protect transnational rule of law for the benefit of citizens. The article criticizes the EU institutions for their nondemocratic assertion of “freedoms to violate international law” to the detriment of EU citizens, and discusses the links between the current financial and economic growth crises in the European Monetary Union and the persistent violations by most EU countries of their agreed fiscal and debt legal disciplines. If the main objective of law is to “institutionalize public reason” protecting citizens and their human rights, IEL requires far-reaching cosmopolitan reforms in the 21st century.
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