Edited by Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt and Joakim Nergelius
Chapter 3: Development Assistance in the Legal Field: Promotion of Market Economy v Human Rights
Michael Bogdan From a lawyer’s viewpoint, it is extremely satisfying that the importance of law as a pre-condition of desirable economic and social development is now generally recognised. The same developing countries, that used to ask Sweden for food, machines or medicines, ask now for assistance in producing a bankruptcy law, educating judges or publishing an official gazette. Development assistance in the field of law has become a large-scale industry, connected to the transition of many Third World countries and former communist states towards some kind of market economy and political democracy. This assistance creates, at the same time, a number of novel problems.1 Sweden is a relatively small donor in this context in comparison with some other countries and international organisations such as UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). Only about one percent of direct Swedish development aid, administered by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), relates to law and legal matters.2 Sweden used to differ from most Western countries by providing generous assistance to various ‘progressive’ regimes of preponderantly Marxist orientation, which makes Sweden a wellestablished donor in the same countries even now, after they have abandoned the Marxist economic and legal model. This does not mean, however, that the assistance to these countries’ legal development is uncontroversial. While aid in the field of promotion of human rights seems to be generally accepted, helping the recipient countries to replace their state-controlled economic systems with a ‘capitalist’ market economy is considered by some Swedish critics to be equivalent to...
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