Since the catastrophic economic meltdown that took place in 2008, market-driven globalization has posed new challenges for governments. Now, with the growing influence of non-traditional nationalist policies, populism, antiglobalization and trade protectionism, the rules and accepted norms are changing.
Grey Zones in International Economic Law and Global Governance (UBC Press, 2018) is a timely new book edited by York University Professor Emeritus of Political Science Daniel Drache, a senior research scholar at the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, and York Law & Society Professor Lesley Jacobs, director of the Institute for Social Research and the executive director of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice.
The book examines the shifting sands supporting globalization, addresses the impact of populism and trade protectionism and explores the creative solutions by local governments to navigate these turbulent times. The 320-page volume presents a carefully curated collection of 11 original essays with a foreword by Pitman B. Potter, professor of law in the UBC Law Faculty and HSBC Chair in Asian Research at UBC’s Institute of Asian Research, and an introduction and conclusion co-authored by Drache and Jacobs. Grey Zones in International Economic Law and Global Governance is the second volume of essays focused on globalization co-edited by Drache and Jacobs and follows up on the themes established in the first volume, Linking Global Trade and Human Rights: New Policy Space in Hard Economic Times, which was published in 2014. (See YFile, May 23, 2014).
This new volume introduces the concept of “grey zones” of global governance, where state policy and market behaviour interact with respect to trade, the environment, food security and investment. In essence, Drache and Jacobs’ concept of grey zones allows for the bending of international rules, which both promotes uniformity in many areas of public life and facilitates diverse forms of capitalism in market societies. This enables local governments to balance national and global economic benefits.
Drache and Jacobs began work on the book before the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s exit from the European Union (BREXIT). “Both were game changers,” says Drache, noting that the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and BREXIT opened new opportunities for content addressing concept of grey zones.
“The old order is unravelling with American isolationism and Trump is dismantling globalization,” notes Drache, and this amplifies the importance of grey zones of global governance as countries attempt to navigate the turbulence and maintain stability. The book explores in depth how operation within these grey zones of global governance also enables countries to experiment with new modes of governance within their own domestic policy space.
At a time of growing nationalist sentiment, Grey Zones in International Economic Law and Global Governance explores creative local engagement with international economic law and offers a bold new way to understand public concerns about international trade and investment, food security, green energy, subsidies, and anti-dumping actions.
This book will be of interest to scholars in international law, political economy, international relations, international political economy, and political science. It will also find an audience among public policy specialists.