Lex Mercatoria



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The "Transnational" Political Economy:

A Framework for Analysis.[*]

Jarrod Wiener, University of Kent at Canterbury[**]


Private International Trade Law:

The Positivist Perspective.

The Autonomist Perspective.

The Sources of the Lex Mercatoria: "Lex", or "Principa".

Applicability and Coercive Force.

"Delocalised International Commercial Arbitration":

Preliminary Observations:

Public International Trade Law.

Normative, Structural Imperatives of the Transnational Political Economy.

Conclusion: The Agenda for Research:




Sovereignty, Authority, and Governance:





SiSU Metadata, document information


SiSU Manifest, alternative outputs etc.

The "Transnational" Political Economy: - A Framework for Analysis.

Jarrod Wiener

copy @ Lex Mercatoria

The "Transnational" Political Economy:

A Framework for Analysis.[*]

Jarrod Wiener, University of Kent at Canterbury[**]


The logical starting point would be with the growing consensus on liberal ideology that underpins the growth of the Transnational Political Economy. That is, essentially, the demise of economic ideological conflicts, both between East and West and North and South, and the globalisation of the ethic of liberal capitalism. By the end of the 1980s, there had been the spectacular failure of the Socialist model, and with the Newly Industrialised Countries (NICs) benefitting from greater interaction with the capitalist system, including a large presence of FDI, and a great many other developing countries effectively stagnating. More states therefore embraced liberal ideology.

It is neither laudable nor ethnocentric to suggest that others can, and are, becoming like the West. Witness the recognition of the lex mercatoria in the Inter- American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration comprising Latin American states of both common law and civil law traditions, most of which had at one time explicitly rejected even the principle of party autonomy in choosing an applicable law (Calvo doctrine). In fact, there have been no less than 206 liberalising policy changes in 26 developing countries between 1977 and 1987.  88 

It is recognised, of course, that as liberal capitalism spreads across the globe, it is gaining an increasing number of variants, and the analysis should avoid generalisations about the "end of history". These variants nevertheless relate to a "trunc commun" of economic principles that is increasingly being accepted globally. For instance, Lord Justice Mustill stated that we should recognise that the lex mercatoria "is a doctrine of laissez-faire", and that "in very many parts of the world it is considered that the exercise of free consent by individual parties must be subordinated to broader economic and political considerations bearing on international trade".  89  However, it evident that he did not foresee the states of Eastern Europe and of the former Soviet Union embracing privatisation only two years after this statement. For this he may be excused, but he did not recognise that this trend was already occurring throughout large portions of the Third World. Without a quantitative analysis to support the claim, it is highly probable that the states which have not embraced laissez-faire, privatised capitalism are now in the minority.

 88. See Mac Destler, American Trade Politics: System Under Stress, Institute for International Economics, Washington, and the Twentieth Century Fund, New York, 1986.

 89. Jagdish Bhagwati, Protectionism, MIT Press, London, 1988., p.41.

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( International Trade/Commercial Law & e-Commerce Monitor )

W3 since October 3 1993
1993 - 2010

started @The University of Tromsø, Norway, 1993
hosted by The University of Oslo, Norway, since 1998
in fellowship with The Institute of International Commercial Law,
Pace University, White Plains, New York, U.S.A.



Ralph Amissah

Lex Mercatoria