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Labour Law in an Era of GlobalizationTransformative Practices and Possibilities$
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Joanne Conaghan, Richard Michael Fischl, and Karl Klare

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199271818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199271818.001.0001

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Seeking Post-Seattle Clarity—and Inspiration

Seeking Post-Seattle Clarity—and Inspiration

(p.137) 7 Seeking Post-Seattle Clarity—and Inspiration
Labour Law in an Era of Globalization

Brian A. Langille

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers and ultimately rejects the argument that regulatory strategies and collective action are doomed to failure because of constraints imposed on nation-state capacity by global economic imperatives. It defends the considerable virtues of free trade — resulting from comparative advantage and specialized production — while at the same time arguing that markets ought to serve democracy rather than vice versa and that, accordingly, some things must not be for sale. If the central insight of traditional progressive labour law was that ‘labour is not a commodity’ for exchange within a domestic economy, then, the chapter argues, the point to be pressed now is that ‘labour law is not a commodity’ up for sale in the globally integrated economy. Labour law must be seen as a site for democratic dialogue and multilateral negotiation about the appropriate scope of market ordering.

Keywords:   Seattle, commodity, labour law, free trade, collective action, market ordering

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