Law and the Political Economy of the World
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CitationDavid W. Kennedy, Law and the Political Economy of the World, 26 Leiden J. Int'l L. 7 (2013).
AbstractThe interpenetration of global political and economic life has placed questions of ‘political
economy’ on the scholarly agenda across the social sciences. The author argues that international
law could contribute to understanding and transforming centre–periphery patterns
of dynamic inequality in global political economic life. The core elements of both economic
and political activity – capital, labour, credit, and money, as well as public or private power and
right – are legal institutions. Law is the link binding centres and peripheries to one another and
structuring their interaction. It is also the vernacular through which power and wealth justify
their exercise and shroud their authority. The author proposes rethinking international law as
a terrain for political and economic struggle rather than as a normative or technical substitute
for political choice, itself indifferent to natural flows of economic activity.
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