In the current globalization debate the law appears to be dependent upon economic and political developments that move into a new dimension of de-politicization, de-centralization and de-individualization. For all the correct observations in detail, though, this debate is bringing about a drastic (polit) economic reduction of the role of law that I wish to challenge in this chapter. Here one has to take on Wallerstein’s misconception of ‘worldwide economies’ according to which the formation of the global society is seen as a basically economic process. 1 Autonomous globalization processes in other social spheres running parallel to economic globalization need to be taken seriously. In protest against such (polit) economic reductionism several strands of the debate, among them the neo-institutionalist theory of ‘global culture’, post-modern concepts of global legal pluralism, ideas of differentiation of global society and various versions of ‘global civil society’ have shaped the idea of a polycentric globalization. 2 From these angles the remarkable multiplicity of a global 72society, in which tendencies to re-politicization, re-rationalization and re-individualization are becoming visible at the same time, becomes evident. 3 I shall contrast two standard theses on the globalization of law with two less current counter-theses:
First standard thesis: globalization is relevant for law since emerging global markets undermine the control potential of national policy and therefore also the chances of legal regulation.
First counter-thesis: globalization produces a set of problems intrinsic to law itself, consisting of a self-deconstruction of the dominant law-making processes.
Second standard thesis: globalization means that law’s role is to institutionalize the worldwide shift in power from governmental actors to economic actors.
Second counter-thesis: globalization means that the law has a chance of contributing to a dual constitution of autonomous sectors of world society.