New constitutionalism and world order: general introduction
by Stephen Gill and A. Claire Cutler, 2014, 10 pp
New constitutionalism and world order
We are living in an era in which there is a neo-liberal redefinition of the political on a world scale, linked to the emergence of a de facto neo-liberal new constitutional structure that is serving to define present and future, local and global, policies.
Some of the principal mechanisms for this redefinition are both public and private, and are drawn from constitutional, administrative, international and transnational laws. These operate within and across jurisdictions, thus mandating detailed research on such multilevel and multifaceted domains.
Contradictions, dislocations and inequalities associated with the new constitutionalism of disciplinary neo-liberalism and global crises are producing contestations linked to new patterns of resistance and insurgent power.
The historical context for new constitutionalism
It is widely acknowledged that a central characteristic in the world order today is how it has been shaped by a ‘worldwide market revolution’ associated with globalization and neo-liberalism. This characteristic refers to processes of economic integration beyond state borders culminating in
a global marketplace of commodities, ideas and identities. The increasing prominence of transnational corporations and the mobility of capital through foreign investment facilitate this integration, as do the networks of trade in goods and services that span the globe (Cutler 2009a, 2009b)
The historical context for much of this transformation was the end of the Cold War, and the ideological triumphalism of the West associated with Francis Fukuyama’s eschatological claim that by the early 1990s we had arrived at the end of history, with liberalism as the only viable pol-
itical alternative that would govern the future. This ideological moment was reflected in the famous dictum of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher vowing to destroy socialism in Britain, that henceforth ‘There is no alternative’ to conservatism and neo-liberalism. Thus the new constitutionalism can be traced back to not only the development of the world market and the particular responses of many ruling forces in the capitalist world to the crisis of profitability for capital in the 1970s and 1980s, but also to the geopolitical reconfiguration during that period.