Shadow Courts (Paperback)
The Tribunals That Rule Global Trade
Columbia Global Reports, 9780997126402, 142pp.
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
List Price: 12.99*
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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.
About the Author
Haley Sweetland Edwards is a correspondent at Time. Previously, she was an editor at the Washington Monthly, where she wrote about policy and regulation. From 2009 to 2012, she lived and worked in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union, where she wrote for The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, and The New Republic, among other publications. She studied philosophy at Yale and journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in Washington, D.C.