Theorising the Relationship Between Social Rights and Markets in Regional Integration Projects

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Labor law and legislation; International trade--Social aspects; Commercial policy


This lecture explores regional integration projects in the global South and constraints upon them, in particular the social dislocations caused by global and European trade policies, and the response of states in the South to the institutional design of the global trade regime. The rise of the market as the ‘metric of the rationality of law and policy’ challenges labour market institutions and social policies, especially in the context of cross-national market integration projects (namely the European Union and the African Union) of which a core raison d’etre is that labour is commodified as one of factors of production.

In this lecture, Professor Ashiagbor examines the role of labour law and of labour market institutions as part of an array of adjustment mechanisms responding to the liberalisation of trade and the opening of national borders: to what extent can social rights mediate the operation of markets, and what does this mean viewed from the perspective of developing countries as well as industrialised ones.

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