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Shadow Courts: The Tribunals That Rule Global Trade

Haley Sweetland Edwards

"Edwards offers a ... look at one little-known but powerful provision in most modern trade agreements that is designed to protect the financial interests of global corporations against the governments of sovereign states. She [posits] that Investor-State Dispute Settlement --a 'shadow court' that allows corporations to sue a nation outside its own court system--has tilted the balance of power on the global stage"--Amazon.com.

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Book Information

Publisher: Columbia Global Reports
Publish Date: 09/05/2016
Pages: 142
ISBN-13: 9780997126402
ISBN-10: 099712640X
Language: English

What We're Saying

December 07, 2016

The reality underlying each of our choices for the best Current Events & Public Affairs book of the year is that good business practices can be a balm to society, while bad business practices act as a barrier to progress. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

November 01, 2016

If you're going to read 40 business books published in 2016, make them this 40—or, I suppose, choose from among them. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

September 12, 2016

In Shadow Courts, Haley Sweetland Edwards reports on the particulars, and the particular problems, of Investor-State Dispute Settlement, the shadow courts that rule international trade. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

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"Haley Sweetland Edwards explains the history of global shadow courts and how these courts have spun out of control, threatening the interests of citizens everywhere including the United States. Her fantastic book is exactly what long-form journalism is meant to do, to move beyond current events and provide historical perspective that aims at future reform. SHADOW COURTS should be at the top of the reading list of all those interested in redesigning trade agreements to be in the public interest." -- Jeffrey D. Sachs, University Professor, Columbia University and author of The End of Poverty International trade deals have become vastly complex documents, seeking to govern everything from labor rights to environmental protections. This evolution has drawn alarm from American voters, but their suspicions are often vague. In this book, investigative journalist Haley Sweetland Edwards offers a detailed look at one little-known but powerful provision in most modern trade agreements that is designed to protect the financial interests of global corporations against the governments of sovereign states. She makes a devastating case that Investor-State Dispute Settlement -- a "shadow court" that allows corporations to sue a nation outside its own court system -- has tilted the balance of power on the global stage. A corporation can use ISDS to challenge a nation's policies and regulations, if it believes those laws are unfair or diminish its future profits. From the 1960s to 2000, corporations brought fewer than 40 disputes, but in the last fifteen years, they have brought nearly 650 -- 54 against Argentina alone. Edwards conducted extensive research and 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 the global balance of power.

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