The purpose of the paper is to examine the law and how it has been utilised in fostering proper functioning of global markets within member countries and globally. The term “law” in this context refers to international law, whose primary function is to regulate activities of sovereign States and organisations created by a group of States. The Statute of the International Court of Justice 1907, which has been ratified as a treaty by all UN nations, provides the most authoritative definition of the sources of international law to date (Schachter, 1991). Under Article 38 of Statute of the International Court of Justice 1907, there four main sources of international law such as treaties, international customs, general principles of law recognised by civilised nations and judicial decisions of International Court of Justice and other internationally accepted tribunals. They are the materials and processes out of which the rules and principles regulating the international community are developed and sustained. The term “global Village” was coined by a Canadian scholar by the name of Marshall McLuhan to describe the contraction of the globe into a village because of advances in internet communication technology and increased consciousness and enhanced transport systems (McLuhan, 2003). The current “global village” is manifested by the growing interconnectedness of economies which has enhanced the ability of states to interact economically, politically and socially. It operates in a way that seems to defy common definitions such as delimitations of national borders and states. The global system has created shared synergies such as free movement of workers, capital, good and services. However, it has created varied challenges for individual states given that challenges in one part of the globe can easily navigate into the system to infest other countries including those that have nothing to do with its causes. This dichotomy is highlighted by the debt crisis in the Eurozone member countries which has been simmering since 2009 but has recently bubbled to the surface by the crisis in Greece. The challenges in Greece as well in other deeply integrated countries have not been confined within individual countries or regions but have had a domino effect farther afield due to the growing interconnectedness of economies. There are dualities in the global system manifested by the fact that developed countries are endowed with the means, and, therefore, they have requisite capacity to harness the law and markets easily as opposed to their counterparts in least developed countries (LDCs), where this leverage is non-existent. Less-developed economies are so described because they lack requisite capacity and cannot compete as efficiently as their counterpart in developed countries. This has translated into ambivalence and half-heartedness in some states attitude to embrace market discipline wholeheartedly. The foregoing challenges have been exacerbated by the tenuous legal systems, lack of robust infrastructure, oversight institutions and corruption, especially in the LDCs cohort. The paper utilises empirical data to evaluate the role of law in fostering the relationship between states and markets. In other words, are the rules governing global markets effectively working to ensure a harmonious co-existence of markets, states and various stakeholders? Can the recent global crises such as the debt crisis in Greece mean that the global village is in quandary? Is there any village that is devoid of challenges or they are part and parcel of life? The paper utilises empirical examples in both developed and developing countries to evaluate the current state of the contemporary global village in search for answers to the foregoing nagging questions.
The paper adopts a selective review approach in analysing the most appropriate materials for inclusion in its analysis. It is an empirical study based on the most recent global developments such as the global financial crisis, the debt crisis in European Union (EU) to gains insights into the interplay of the relationship between law and markets and the occasional disharmony between these two regulatory domains.
The issues examined in this paper provide significant insights into the dynamics of the global village, law and markets. It has delineated that for markets to work effectively, the state needs to remain in the loop and to keep an arm’s length relationship with the market because it will have to come in to pick the pieces when things go wrong. The law cannot be pushed to the sidelines because it will have to provide the instruments for states and markets to operate efficiently within their respective regulatory domain. There is no state, including North Korea (not as open as other economies in Asia), which can close its door entirely to markets. Experience has demonstrated that law is more than rules which govern societies but a way of life such that a society is as developed as is its legal system. The State needs to use the leverage of the law and to take centre stage for markets to remain viable and relevant. Recent crises such as the debt crisis in Greece or the global financial crisis before provide lessons for proponents of the global market system to learn so that it can proportionately distribute benefits and not challenges.
The global market system has imposed varied challenges on states at the scale never envisaged before. Some of the theoretical premises relating to the paper were based on secondary data sources and were evaluated based on a small sample of cases. The author, therefore, extrapolated that the law seems to have been relegated to the sidelines to not interfere with markets. The paper has evaluated the current global market system in the context of contemporary challenges in Europe and in other regions; it would have been better to explore examples from other regions. It is evident that the state and the market are two sides of the same coin – they are embedded in each other, and their relationship complimentary and will have to co-exist. They need to work in tandem because the market needs the state and the state needs the market. Meanwhile, both the state and the market need the law as an equalizer to ensure they are regulated according to engendered rules. It appears that the disharmony between the state and the market is because of the fusion of law and politics which often results in overlapping interests. The recent global financial crisis and the frantic efforts of EU government to bail out debt distressed countries like Greece have implied that governments will need to maintain an arms-length relationship with markets. When the state lets its hands off, literally speaking, in the author’s view, markets will veer off course.
The global system has created shared synergies such as free movement of workers, capital, good and services. However, it has created varied challenges for individual states given that challenges in one part of the globe can easily navigate into the system to infest other countries including those that have nothing to do with its causes. States and stakeholders will need to carefully evaluate the impact of global regulatory initiatives to make sure that in adopting them, they are not debased or undermined by those initiatives.
For markets to work properly, the state must remain in the loop and keep an arms-length relationship with the market because it will have to come in to pick the pieces when things go wrong. The law cannot be pushed to the sidelines because it will have to provide the instruments for states and markets to operate efficiently within their respective regulatory domain. There is no state, including North Korea (not as open as other economies in Asia), which can close its door entirely to markets. Experience has demonstrated that law is more than rules which govern societies but a way of life such that a society is as developed as is its legal system. The State needs to use the leverage of the law in providing effective regulatory oversight of markets both domestically and globally.
The paper was written on the basis of recent global crises such as the debt crisis in Greece, Europe, which were evaluated in the narrow context and are objectives of the paper.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited