Possible Future Worlds: Essays by Carnegie Council's Ethics Fellows for the Future

Future Worlds: The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs has published a collection of essays produced by 2014-2015 Global Ethics Fellows for the Future.  The collection is entitled Possible Future Worlds: Essays by Carnegie Council's Ethics Fellows for the Future 2015 and is divided into four thematic sections: Determining Values; Environment and Growth; Alternative Pathways to Peace; and Law and Governance.  Appointed by Global Ethics Fellow Dr. Jean-Marc Coicaud, Ethics Fellow for the Future and Global Affairs Ph.D. Lynette Sieger was a contributing author.  Her chapter contribution to future worlds "Our Future World: International Law from the International to the Global" explores the challenges and changes in international law in a globalizing world.

Access: Possible Future Worlds: Essays by Carnegie Council's Ethics Fellows for the Future 2015 in full and Ms. Sieger's chapter Our Future World International Law from the International to the Global

Lynette Sieger and CCEIA Ethics Fellows for the Future at the Carnegie Centennial in New York Lynette Sieger and CCEIA Ethics Fellows for the Future at the Carnegie Centennial in New York

Our Future Worlds Chapter Abstract

In thinking about our future world, I here choose to reflect on the field of international law and how it copes with and might evolve to more adequately handle the challenges of intensified globalization and transborder human, social, and environmental concerns. In the first section, I offer an overview of two important aspects of the framework of contemporary international law.  Namely, I focus on the embeddedness of (i.) state-centrism—which prioritizes the recognition of states as both the primary subjects and agents of international law and (ii.) liberalism as a principal normative driver.  In the second section, I identify key normative and practical challenges which international law will have to address and adapt to in order to maintain legitimacy, effectiveness and relevance.  The challenges which I identify are broad in scope but broadly fall into the three following categories: (i.) democratic deficit within the system of international law and governance, (ii.) systematic socioeconomic injustice and (iii.) the inadequacy of the political/legal boundaries of the state/internationalist system to meet the trans-border scales of policy in the realms of environment, health, resource scarcity, and security threats. I conclude with the idea that the future of international law lays in an increasing shift away from the state-centric model, towards a more global form of law with greater emphasis on individuals and layered spheres of participatory governance. I briefly explore how scholars and practitioners of international law might facilitate its evolution to meet the normative and practical challenges which it faces.

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