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[Refers to Revised Draft, December 9, 2005] The social psychology literature on justice suggests that the perception of injustice produces the strongest human emotional response. Perceptions of injustice can lead to conflicts over the justice of social outcomes, threatening social cohesion and security. Trade law, and globalization more generally, are increasingly perceived as unjust with respect to the interests of developing countries and of the poor in all countries. To the extent that the various stakeholders in globalization perceive a lack of reciprocity between their investment and their return, they will naturally address their claims of injustice towards the global trading system, with adverse consequences for trade law and for global security more generally. In order for trade law to contribute to increased security, it must produce outcomes that increase participants’ sense of the justice of global economic relations. For this to occur, the global trading system must consider the distribution of gains from trade within domestic societies. Whether or not the gains from trade, and globalization more generally, are perceived to be justly distributed within a society will directly influence participants’ views of the justice of the trading system as a whole. Trade law has an important role to play in addressing this perceived dislocation of risk and return, in much the same way that corporate law does so in domestic societies, through strategies which address both perceptions of economic injustice and potential underlying contributing factors.


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