Development, Globalization, and Law

Is global commerce under essentially laissez-faire rules optimal for economic development? In this era of liberated and deregulated markets, and after the final collapse of communism, a great many commentators would consider that a self-evident question. Of course free global commerce is good for economic development, because we know that the freest possible markets produce the most efficient use of resources and the highest available rates of economic growth. And growth benefits development. How could it be otherwise? And what is the role of law in facilitating commerce and in contouring a particular regime of domestic and transnational commerce and capital flows? Isn’t the global role of law to define property rights and limit the interference and distortion imposed by states, and thus, again, to optimize outcomes? This Article explores these questions.