• Shadow Courts: The Tribunals that Rule Global Trade (Haley Sweetland Edwards )

    Shadow Courts: The Tribunals that Rule Global Trade

                                                                   2016     142 p.    8 €

      "It's a short, vital introduction to ISDS history and use, the shocking ways in which corporations have used it to bend governments to their will, and the total lack of justification for using such mechanisms in developed, stable countries." -- The Week

      International trade deals have swiftly emerged this year as politically controversial, attracting both condemnation and confusion from voters all over the world.

      In this book, investigative journalist Haley Sweetland Edwards focuses on one crucial aspect of these massive agreements: a powerful provision called Investor-State Dispute Settlement, which allows foreign corporations to sue sovereign nations before little-known supranational arbitration tribunals.

      Edwards makes the case that these tribunals (or "shadow courts"), which were designed 50 years ago to protect foreign investors' property rights abroad, are now being exploited by multinational corporations at the expense of sovereign nations and their citizens. From the 1960s to 2000, corporations brought fewer than 40 cases through these tribunals. In the last 15 years, they've brought nearly 650.

      In the course of her reporting, Edwards interviewed dozens of policymakers, activists, and government officials in Argentina, Canada, Bolivia, Ecuador, the European Union, and in the Obama administration. The result is a major story about a significant shift in global power.

      Vivement la traduction en français!

      I’m a correspondent at TIME. 

       My book,Shadow Courts: The Tribunals That Rule Global Trad e will be published by Columbia Global Reports on Sept. 6. It’s about a small provision in nearly every trade agreement, including NAFTA and the TPP, that allows foreign investors to sue sovereign nations outside of their own court systems. That provision, Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), was designed in the 1950s to provide foreign corporations with property protections abroad. But many believe that savvy corporate lawyers, schooled in the dark arts of exploiting decades-old legal language, are using it in ways that it was never intended—to the detriment of public policy, environmental regulations and human rights.

      Before TIME, I was an editor at the Washington Monthly, where I wrote about policy and regulation. Before that, I was a freelance reporter in the Middle East and the Caucasus, writing mostly for the Los Angeles Times, and also for The Atlantic, The New Republic, and other publications. I lived in Yemen and reported from a half-dozen countries in the Middle East on and off from 2009 to 2012, thanks in part to a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and the Overseas Press Club Fellowship. I started my career as a resident reporter at the wonderful Seattle Times.

      I studied philosophy and history at Yale and journalism and politics at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. 

      (The photo above is from the mountains near Kazbegi, Georgia, near the Russian border. Courtesy of the multi-talented Paul Stephens.)


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