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This article analyzes the role played by legal institutions in the process of globalization. In particular, it focuses on the deep relationship between sustainable development -- the driving force of international environmental law -- and the spread of free market democracy. The article argues that sustainable development is not merely a reflection of the successful export of Western ideology, but is itself a force of ideological imperialism whereby Western values not shared nor willingly accepted by other nations are imposed upon them through the implementation of the legal principle. Along the way, the article sheds light on a reinvigorated debate regarding the global spread of Western ideology. By describing in detail the way in which Western ideas of nature are not shared by other nations, the article provides strong evidence that, in the context of international environmental law, legal norms are not necessarily expressive of universally-shared principles. Thus, as critics of Western ideological hegemony argue, the spread of Western ideas does indeed result in the eradication of the ideas of nature held by other cultures.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
7 Sep 2022
2.5 MB



  • Subject
    • Environmental Law

  • Journal title
    • Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review

  • Volume
    • 27

  • Issue
    • 1

  • Pagination
    • 43

  • Date submitted

    7 September 2022