Document Type


Publication Date

February 2004


This Article focuses on the current development-related problems in the global trading system. A widening income gap and widespread poverty among trading nations denote the WTO’s Gesellschaftian nature—interest and power—resulting in structural distortion and manipulation. This Article maintains that the global trading system can achieve its development agenda and become fair and legitimate only through a critical paradigmatic transformation enabled by the configuration of the “WTO’s Gemeinschaft.” This Article observes that a fundamental legal precept, the “Law of Nations” (jus gentium), plays a critical role in actualizing this communitarian telos. Part II redefines the global trading system through the theoretical lens of “Gesellschaft,” a term articulated by the German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies in the late nineteenth century. Part II tracks down futile attempts, under the Gesellschaftian limitation, to tackle development issues and consequent distributional injustice. Part III highlights and problematizes the Gesellschaftian limitation and resultant development failure as it enumerates the causes and effects of that failure: persistent protectionism, regulatory unilateralism, and rhetoric without action. Part IV then attempts to address the development problem by overcoming the WTO’s Gesellschaftian limitation through exercising a communitarian paradigm shift and constructing, with the vehicle of the Law of Nations, the WTO’s Gemeinschaft. This consists of a dual agenda of free trade and development assistance implemented and vindicated in an atmosphere of global empathy. Part V concludes that an ideal project of WTO’s Gemeinschaft leads us to transform our perspective from could (right) to should (duty).