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Le déficit démocratique de la mondialisation du droit économique et le rôle de la société civile

  • Laurence Boy
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    THE DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT OF GLOBALISED ECONOMIC LAW AND THE ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY The World Trade Organisation and the rules of the various multilateral and plurilateral agreements it administers, in particular the GATT and the agreements on GATS, TRIMS and TRIPS, are not only central to international trade, but the pivots of economic and legal globalisation. This is the more true as, due to the dispute settlement mechanism, the binding nature and enforcement of WTO-rules have been enhanced. The pervasive nature of globalisation, however, is not paralleled by an equally broad basis of legitimacy and of regulatory authority. In particular, as WTO and the UN are non-specialized global, but separate international organizations, issues of conflicts with primacy of fundamental rights may arise when WTO-rules are developed, applied and enforced, and so do issues of respecting matters of public interest in the applications of WTO-rules, such as considerations of the protection of the environment, public health and labor standards, etc. These issues just as the proper development, application and enforcement of WTO’s rules strictly speaking become the more important as globalization progresses, and they bring a no less intriguing issue to the fore, which is that WTO-Agreements have been negotiated by States, that the application and enforcement is a matter mainly for the States alone, and that, therefore, litigation and dispute settlement as well are a matter for Member States’ government. The persons, which are concerned, however, enterprises, consumers, the citizens in general and their associations, do not have formal standing in either the rule-making process or as regards enforcement of rules (and even on the domestic level, direct applicability of WTO-rules is an exception, and accepted only by some Members). Of course, WTO might look to citizens’ groups for advice as well as to companies. Citizens’groups and companies, as many of their supporters claim, could be the principal members of an « international civil society ». The power of NGOs has increased in a globalised world. It has to be recognised in WTO because national governments no longer have a monopoly of information compared to corporations and civil society. The spread of democratic government in poor countries, technological change and economic integrationglobalisation, have created fertile ground for the rise of NGOs. Globalisation itself has exacerbated a host of worries : over the environment, labour rights, human rights, consumer rights and so on. Democratisation and technological progress have revolutionised the way in which citizens can unite to express their disquiet. We try, here, to propose some answers to these questions.

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    Article provided by De Boeck Université in its journal Revue internationale de droit économique.

    Volume (Year): t. XVII (2003)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 471-493

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    Handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_173_0471
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