The Global Justice Movement

Andrew Lang

in World Trade Law after Neoliberalism

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199592647
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731396 | DOI:
The Global Justice Movement

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This chapter discusses the immediate background to the contemporary trade and human rights debate, focusing on the years from roughly the mid-1980s to the early 2000s. The chapter is structured in two sections. The first shows how the experience of trade liberalization in different countries and regions across the world in the 1980s and 1990s led to a variety of locally specific political struggles around trade across North America, Latin America, Western Europe, and parts of Asia and Africa. It also shows how, from the middle of the 1990s to around 2001, these local political struggles came together as part of a broader movement against neoliberal economic globalization, and began to focus their critical attention on the World Trade Organization (WTO). The second section then describes the social construction of trade as a human rights issue. It illustrates the way that some of the NGOs within this movement began to use human rights language as a way of framing and articulating their criticisms of trade liberalization and international trade law. It also asks why it was that human rights seemed, to many within the global justice movement, to be a useful language of resistance to what they saw as a global neoliberal economic agenda, and why it came to be adopted as such.

Keywords: trade; human rights; trade liberalization; political struggles; neoliberal economic globalization; World Trade Organization; international trade law

Chapter.  22892 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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