Open Lecture

Globalization and Law: Challenges of modernity




Bjarne Melkevik
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The author examine two aspects of globalization: 1) globalization as an economic transformation of the world; and 2) as a cultural transformation of the world experienced, with profit or with losses, on the level of individual actors.

Conceiving globalization as economic rationality, two observations could be highlighted – one concerning the globalization as an economic system and the other concerning the economic (and cultural) consequences of individuals as to theirs lives and well-beings.

On the cultural level, contemporary globalization reveals new identity issues of a character still largely unknown to individuals but also to countries.

If today globalization is conceived as the new Great Promise that can grant us wealth and comfort, we should not forget that «artillery, cavalry and infantry» often bought wealth and comfort. Can globalization be anything but a new challenge for legal modernity?

Two systems of law are already formed as a globalized law: the neo-lex mercatoria and the international human rights system. The neo-lex mercatoria is an extra-state legality where commercial actors regulate their economic disputes among themselves and as a private legal matter. This system do not need the official state-law structure.

Human rights, as constraints on Nation-states, must shatter all discriminatory contexts and put the men and women in a position where they can take control of their lives and their living-conditions. Only democracy seems capable of honoring such a promise. This will affect the law, for if the law is not merely an annex to the state, if it can even function freely without it, the fact remains that the modern era has constructed the law in relation to a political community.