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The Evil Technology Hypothesis: A Deep Ecological Reading of International Law


  • Ugo Mattei

    (UC Hastings, University of Turin & IUC Turin)

  • Luigi Russi

    (International University College of Turin)


This short paper advances the hypothesis that international law, far from being a purely neutral 'indeterminate' technology that can lend itself to both good and bad uses, might actually be structurally biased to produce exploitative outcomes. This hypothesis is presented through several steps. The first part presents Martti Koskenniemi's indeterminacy thesis, followed by Anthony Anghie's depiction of international law as a technology. The possibility of an inherent bias of technology, such that it will lend itself to exploitative uses, even with the best of intentions, is then introduced in Section III, using the writing of radical ecological thinkers Ran Prieur and Derrick Jensen. This theory is then discussed specifically in relation to international law in Section IV.

Suggested Citation

  • Ugo Mattei & Luigi Russi, 2012. "The Evil Technology Hypothesis: A Deep Ecological Reading of International Law," IUC Research Commons 3-12, International University College of Turin.
  • Handle: RePEc:iuc:rpaper:3-12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Irwin, Scott H. & Sanders, Dwight R. & Merrin, Robert P., 2009. "Devil or Angel? The Role of Speculation in the Recent Commodity Price Boom (and Bust)," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 41(02), August.
    2. Susan A. Newman, 2009. "Financialization and Changes in the Social Relations along Commodity Chains: The Case of Coffee," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 41(4), pages 539-559, December.
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    More about this item


    international law; post-colonial theory; critical legal studies; uneven development;

    JEL classification:

    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism
    • F63 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Economic Development
    • K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law


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