MJIEL Vol 15 Issue 2 2018 - Book Review 1

Distributive Justice and World Trade Law:
A Political Theory of International Trade Regulation
by Oisin Suttle, Cambridge University Press, 2017,
ISBN: 9781108415811, pp. 420.
Reviewed by Clair Gammage
 
Distributive Justice and World Trade Law: A Political Theory of International Trade Regulation offers a ‘rational moral critique’ of the world trade law regime through a Rawlsian lens (p. 7). With rising inequality, both between states and within states, this book offers a significant and timely contribution to the literature on global distributive justice and justice beyond the state. More specifically, the book seeks to understand what justice demands of the international trade regime and how the regime responds to those demands. The starting point for this book rests on the premise that economic justice at the national level is of a different kind to that at the international level. While at the national level, it is claimed in this book that many people endorse economic justice and we see this expressed in measures such as progressive taxation, labour standards, and the public provision of certain services, such as education and healthcare (p. 69). However, our duties to foreigners are understood to be different. Constructing a moral theory of justice in IEL requires an understanding of how duties and obligations of states towards their citizens at the national level, and toward citizens in other states at the international level, are to be distributed.

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