Thursday, September 10, 2009
Rule of Law Paper by Magen
There are a large number of critiques of the law and development enterprise, many of which say essentially the same thing: transplanting institutions is difficult, we have little knowledge about what works, and existing efforts have do a poor job of conceptualizing and measuring the rule of law. A recent paper by Amichai Magen, The Rule of Law and its Promotion Abroad: Three Problems of Scope, 45 Stanfurd Journal of International Law 51 (2009), does a particularly good job of synthesizing and reframing the problems. He articulates three problems of scope: conceptual scope, intellectual scope and empirical scope. It is a lucid discussion that places rule of law promotion in broader literatures of comparative and international politics. In the discussion of empirical scope, for example, he calls attention to the various mechanisms of external influence that have little to do with foreign aid per se. Only when we understand these mechanisms can we begin to see how intervention might or might not work.