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Law's Regulatory Relevance?

Property, Power and Market Economies

Mark Findlay

Law’s Regulatory Relevance? theorises how the law should reposition itself in order to help rather than hinder new pathways of market power, by confronting the dominant neo-liberal economic model that values property through scarcity. With in-depth analysis of empirical case studies, the author explores how law is returning to its communal utility in strengthening social ties, which will in turn restore property as social relations rather than market commodities. In a world of contested narratives about property, valuing law needs to ground its inherent regulatory relevance in the ordering of social change.
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Chapter 5: Property resisted

Property, Power and Market Economies

Mark Findlay


Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.320

In Empire, Hardt and Negri observe:

The passage to Empire emerges from the twilight of modern sovereignty. In contrast to imperialism, Empire establishes no territorial centre of power and does not rely on fixed boundaries or barriers. It is a decentred and deterritorialising apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open, expanding frontiers. Empire manages hybrid identities, flexible hierarchies and plural exchanges through modulating networks of command. The distinct nationalist colours of the imperialist map of the world have merged and blended in the imperial global rainbow.321

This chapter focuses on the Empire of global economic order exercised through what is euphemistically known as free trade. The analytical purpose has several directions. Against a discussion of the paradoxes inherent in the current epoch of globalisation and its emergence out of post-colonial economic dominion, we chart how trade between the North and South Worlds represents a new colonial enslavement.322 The pressure for tearing down trade barriers and opening up developing markets to the ravages of advanced market economies, we argue, has the consequence of advancing a new economic imperialism. Under the guise of development assistance, regimes such as foreign direct investment (FDI) too often cripple recipient economies for the advantage of absentee shareholders, consequently and insidiously capitulating these fragile market frames to externally-sourced debt.323 Ironically, with free trade being until recently touted as undeniably good for...

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