Competition, Coordination, and the Cognitive Potential of International Law: A Normative Approach to Interdisciplinarity

Michael Peter Ilg
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International legal theory has of late grown increasingly receptive to influence from other disciplines. Though this reach toward interdisciplinarity is certainly a laudable development, this alone will not satisfy those who criticize international legal theory for its lack of method. This paper argues that the continued and future significance of international legal theory may be furthered by the combination of interdisciplinarity with the articulation of a pronounced normative system. The promotion of systemic equality and autonomy, goals particularly well-suited to legal application, may both provide an evaluative model for what currently exists and an aspirational one for that which is yet an unrealized possibility.

The principles of procedural equality and autonomy are both incentive platforms for encouraging state cooperation and agreement, as well as the competitive means of ensuring more equitable competition. In the first instance, procedural equality promotes faith in the competitive institutions to which states surrender their sovereignty. Equal procedural application in turn strengthens underlying principles as parties submit to governance by a neutral body applying these same principles.

The second instance involves the procedural promotion of competitive autonomy, which I equate here with the metaphor of diversity. Within the surrounding dictates of neo-liberal economic norms now prevalent in the international system, the call to autonomy and diversity is a measure of ensuring the widest array of individualistic attempts at success. Three related benefits are advanced by this method of autonomy. First, competitive rules may entice state enrollment in agreements by providing a means for competitors to each individually envision success. Second, the wider system and society benefit from the provision of multiple and diverse attempts at achieving previously agreed upon rewards. Third, state policy, increasingly weakened within globalization, is given a renewed impact on the formation of domestic competitiveness.

Keywords: Globalization, International Legal Theory, International Affairs, Economic Regulation
Stream: Politics, Public Policy and Law
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Toward a Theory of International Competitive

Michael Peter Ilg

Assistant Professor, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Ref: I06P0055