MJIEL Vol 2 Issue 1 2005 - Editorial

Communication Flows in International Economic Law

In this second volume of the Journal I intend to continue with my editorial under the “Communication flows in International Economic Law” theme. I feel sure there is merit in hammering away at this --- not least because I do not think as yet I have sufficiently carved out any discernable communication model that nevertheless I feel impels my “hammering”.

In this Issue of the Journal there are three topics that are the focus of the respective contributors viz., the Common Heritage of Mankind in the context of outer space, developing states in the context of Intellectual Property Rights, and finally the nature of memberships in the context of international economic organisations. Without in any way adding a gloss on these contributions these nevertheless bring to the fore the importance of the “contextual dimension” to communication flows in International Economic Law. International economic relations must have a contextual framework otherwise the particular relations in question will wither away. Thus, the appropriate degree of intellectual property rights in international economic relations must be considered in its contextual dimension which includes the development levels of the countries affected by such intellectual property rights. By the same token the context of the question of the benefits of economic exploitation of the outer space is informed by the totality of the beneficial interests in the exploitation. Similarly, the context of the question how international economic organisations can effectively discharge their obligations in relation to their membership, needs to take into cognisance the nature of the relationship between the members and the international organisation. There is thus clearly a contextual dimension to communication flows in international economic relations. International prescriptive exercises have a contextual dimension. It is the contextual dimension that prescribes. As soon as the “prescriber” or some other factor becomes the sole and exclusive directing force, the temporal and qualitative dimensions of the international prescription come under challenge for change.

No doubt this contextual dimension to communication flows in international economic relations is not original. But it does underline the importance of engaging at the outset with the contextual dimension in the process of international economic legislation. Post-mortems that then highlight the deficiencies become necessary lessons. However, to highlight the importance of the contextual dimension in communication flows in international economic prescriptions is to endeavour to reduce the number of post-mortems in international economic relations.

Asif H Qureshi

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