Stockholm Center for International Law and Justice invites you to the inaugural seminar of the series
“Global Law, Local Lives”:
Free Trade, International Law, and the Battle for the State
The championing of ‘free trade’ and the battle for control over the state have been closely related projects over the past 200 years. Since the emergence of the profession of international law in the nineteenth century, international lawyers have been deeply involved in a conversation with political economists and free trade advocates about the proper limits to state power in relation to the market. In the nineteenth century free trade advocates challenged feudalism, mercantilism, and the fiscal-military state, while the twentieth century saw communism, the social state, and at times even democracy become the targets of free trade challenges. The project of state reconstruction in the interests of economic liberalism has been removed from democratic control quite consciously through transnational economic integration, both in the form of the European integration project and through the negotiation of multilateral free trade agreements. This lecture argues that as controversy continues to shadow the negotiation of trade agreements and economic partnerships, the political vision of the role of the state and its relationship to the social that has been embedded in trade agreements is coming under increasing challenge, and that this is to be welcomed.
Anne Orford is Michael D Kirby Chair of International Law at Melbourne Law School, where she directs the Laureate Program in International Law. She has held numerous visiting positions, including at Lund University, the Sorbonne Law School and NYU Law School. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and a past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law. Her scholarship combines study of the history and theory of international law, analysis of international legal doctrines and practice, and an engagement with related fields, in order to provide a clearer understanding of the role of international law in contemporary politics. Her publications include International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect (Cambridge University Press 2011) and The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law (Oxford University Press 2016).
“Global Law, Local Lives” is a series of presentations by distinguished international scholars. It is linked to a new a research agenda on the effects of contemporary global and regional law-making on local and national legal orders.