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JIEL Debate: Methodological Pluralism and its Critics in International Economic Law Research


  • Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann


Section II discusses six different conceptions of justifying international economic law (IEL). Section III argues that the 'dual nature' of modern IEL requires limiting 'Westphalian conceptions' of 'international law among states' through protection of 'cosmopolitan rights' and judicial remedies of citizens in IEL. Section IV explains why past doctrinal disputes among legal positivists, natural law advocates, and social conceptions of law have lost much of their relevance for interpreting IEL. Section V suggests that protecting transnational 'aggregate public goods' requires constitutional approaches to IEL. Section VI explains the need for comparative institutional research so as to improve the functioning of horizontally and vertically interdependent public goods regimes. Section VII discusses why 'cosmopolitan public goods regimes' have protected rights and transnational rule of law more effectively for the benefit of citizens than the prevailing 'Westphalian conceptions'. Section VIII argues that the inadequate parliamentary and civil society control of multilevel economic regulation must be compensated by multilevel judicial protection of cosmopolitan rights protecting 'participatory' and 'deliberative democracy', 'access to justice', 'active liberty', and human rights in IEL. Section IX concludes that the permanent fact of 'reasonable disagreement' requires respect for 'constitutional pluralism' in IEL in accordance with the 'subsidiarity principle'. The legitimate diversity and competing conceptions of 'principles of justice' justify judicial deference via-à-vis diverse conceptions of human rights, economic cosmopolitan rights, corresponding 'duties to protect' and 'corporate responsibilities' as relevant context for interpreting IEL. The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, 2012. "JIEL Debate: Methodological Pluralism and its Critics in International Economic Law Research," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(4), pages 921-970, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jieclw:v:15:y:2012:i:4:p:921-970

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