Monday, June 23, 2014

"Law and Anti-Development"

In case anyone missed it, the American judicial system has just made it clear that the interests of American global capital trump the interests of lessor developed countries in securing some degree of reasonable financial stability and security, and that the United States may use the global reach of extraterritoriality to enforce the interests of its investor class when the two come into conflict.  See NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Arg., 699 F.3d 246, 260 (2d Cir. 2012), which was just upheld by the US Supreme Court.  For a nice write up, see this report from the New York Times.

Those that know me know that I am skeptical about our capacity to use legal institutions to promote economic development (at least as it is classically defined in terms of unlimited growth of GDP).  I am not skeptical at all, however, about the capacity of legal institutions to impede economic development.  This is an example of the latter, what might be called 'law and anti-development'.

Interesting to wonder how this fits into La Porta et alia's 'legal origins' hypothesis.