By Mr. S. Lakshma Reddy,
Director, A.P. Legal Services Pvt. Ltd.
Trade-politics- law in history
Politics, economics and law are historically so integrally connected that they all go together. Every human being as an economic productive unit enters into contractual exchange relationships with other human beings to produce any useful products or services to satisfy their mutual wants or desires and when these relationships encompasses higher social levels they require organizational forms into which individual fit as tissues in an organic whole with special or general purposes bodies. These organizations encompassing social groups as a whole in a defined territories acquire political character with a power structure that determine the rights duties liabilities of its members for smooth and orderly development of social group as a whole under a legal structure what we know as law and order, and law and justice. But these social groups with political character have not remained static or fixed in history and they kept on changing with their relationships with other competing political groups either on the basis of mutual competition, consensus or conquest of the other groups and transformed like in the case of modern acquisition and merger of companies, the several clan groups into tribal groups and tribal groups into political groups some times absorbed by dominant cultures some time assimilated, some times subdued and subordinated and became smaller but greater and broader political groups and greater relations of trade and mixture of people took place under greater political units. We have seen several permutation and combinations of monarchies, and other forms of governments some times extending to greater political empires and some times spitted into smaller territorial groups depending upon the power and tenacity of political leaders. The trade and exchange of goods and services flowed along with elasticity of political groupings in the ever changing territorial units. Though the jurisprudential ideas on the rights, duties liabilities of persons as members of social groups remained as clear but the remedies always underwent changes depending upon the power structure at the helm. If the political power is concentrated in military grouping either in the person of king or dictator or some aristocratic group or mob of middle class or mob of lower classes there was corresponding emphasis on certain rights whether it be social, economic, or political but the substratum of legal concepts always maintained because they are integrally connected with human beings as producers, traders and consumers owning certain basic rights as sine qua non, constituting the political economy for satisfying individual and social wants and desires.
We see this historical social civilization process in the history of Greeks, Romans, Persians, Africans, Asiatic, European, Indian societies, all over the world. The present is the continuation of the past.
The greater the political unity, the greater is the freedom of movement of people and trade.
The greater the freedom of movement of people and trade the greater is the division of labor and specialization of trades.
The greater the freedoms of movement of people and trade, the greater are the abridgement of gaps of inequalities and equalizations of opportunities and profits of trade.
The greater the political unity the greater is the threat to individual rights and freedoms of people from the political or other organized public powers that be
The greater the political disunity the greater the threat from other rival political groups or states that threaten the safety and security of individuals and states inviting greater outlays on defense of realms.
The greater the outlays on defense of realms the lesser the outlay on other useful social good and services that enhances the happiness of people.
Like that finally we can deduce that the greater political unity, let us say the global political unity, with adequate legal safeguards against the concentration of great political power that threaten the rights and liberties of individual citizens the people will have greater benefits contributing optimum utilization of natural and human resources to the maximum happiness of maximum number of people without infringing the others rights.
The cost benefits of these political economies organized into greater political units like confederation of various Greek states with provinces spread over Europe, Africa, Asia during Alexander the great period, similar and more enduring empire under the roman period with vast network of legal infrastructure under one sovereign, Napoleonic empire the more recent British empire under the responsible king and limited confederations like US, UK, USSR, INDIA, GERMANY, CANADA, etc enabled the people to freely move and trade throughout the extended territories with certain legal rights recognized by such political bodies under their sovereign legislative, executive, judicial powers. The political units built upon force, fraud and not on the basis of voluntary union naturally disintegrated and formed into smaller ones in history like collapse of Alexandrian, Roman, British empires and new political national bodies were born based on certain common characteristics like language, cultural, racial similarities in defined territories on globe. These smaller political units reduced the freedom of movement of trade and people into their own units and limited the international movement by several restrictions. With restrictions on movement followed the truncation of creation of global division of labor that is not consistent with technology and available natural and human resources on earth. These truncated smaller political units out of scarcity of natural or other adequate capital resources to feed its people have grown feelings of jealousy, rapaciousness, envy are practicing fraudulent misrepresentations, like any other individual human behavior fraught with Hobbes state of nature society. Aggressive behavior, domination for gain on one side and submission and surrender of rights for survival of one’s life on other side is to be found in the behavior of nation states in their mutual intercourse in international affairs some time spilling over as world wars. We are in such a state of affairs now
But things are not static. The economy moves with science and technology and it some demands human and political reorganization of social life asserting its own power with people. We have seen in all earlier history it was leader led political history that determined the extent of trade and movements. Now it is technology empowered people through instantaneous communication and transport demanding freedom to move, contract with any persons any where in the globe irrespective of the political units they reside and any restrictions on this freedom is decried as unreasonable and anachronism. This is a new freedom movement for global people from the clutches of outgrown anachronism political bodies and entities and want new order of political structures that facilitate the movement of people through out globe, enter into any valid contracts with binding enforceability, and for prevention of crime on global scale, for maintaining law and order and law and justice on global level for the safety and security to their lives, liberties, properties, to determine their own lives subject only to one ultimate valid general global law with equally valid subordinate local laws.
WTO is set up with the sole objective of promoting global free trade. Free trade on global level implies dismantling old local political restrictive trade practices and creation of uniform global rules and regulations for free flow of capital and labor and WTO is now on that job with all its `sincerity` within its jurisdiction.
WTO has in fact diagnosed the disease that that local political restrictive trade practices like imposition of trade tariffs through customs duties, discriminatory taxation policies, discriminatory subsidies, prohibition of imports and exports in the name of local public interest in retaliation or as protective measures in its own interest in the face of international jungle law or rag are impeding the natural free trade objectives and now embarked on the mission of bringing orderly development through near impossible task of consensus from multilateral, regional and bilateral trade negotiations.
I as silent spectator feel crying to the august office of WTO to willingly open its eyes and see that the better option to global people to tide over the present evils pestering the global political economy is to persuade its members for voluntary global political unity and to create global political sovereign bodies for sanctifying the global free contracting agreements over the internet shops and business houses and a legal enforcing machinery of such trans-border contracts by suppressing infringements and crimes. It should address that issue by inviting global debate over the costs and benefits to global population for such legal machinery and if necessary seek global impartial referendums to strengthen the UNO, to transform it into sovereign body as world government to preserve the planet earth from uncertain climatic changes due to human economic activity and for peace and good government of whole humanity which is also the silent cry of vast majority of global people.
Note: This is for presentation or for circulation at Geneva WTO Public forum on 4-5 October 2007