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Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. Volume 40, Number 2 (2002), p. 209-274.


Globalization is sometimes considered to have led to the liftoff of international business transactions from national regulatory oversight. This Article is concerned with the connection between a liftoff of transnational business processes and the laws related to international economic transactions. In particular, the Article examines the "governing" role that national private laws play in transnational business relations through an examination of the regulatory function of private international law.The Article describes how recent "internationalist" reforms in private international law contribute to a possible liftoff and discusses representative policy justifications for these reforms, such as the facilitation of international commerce, the attainment of interstate cooperation, and the promotion of cosmopolitan fairness to parties. It then explores reasons why the traditional regulatory function of private international law has been obscured in recent internationalist reform, in particular by its ready, if misleading, identification with parochialism. To address such concerns, the Article describes a cosmopolitan account of the regulatory function of private international law in the contemporary era of globalization. It identifies the nature of the regulatory challenges that face private international law in the current international system and makes proposals for the kinds of regulatory role that private international law could play in the constitution of a pluralistic system of governance that might address some of the excesses of economic globalization.

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