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Danny Nicol. The Constitutional Protection of Capitalism

Oxford University Press
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  • Economics
  • Law
  • Political Science


When the current economic crisis began, political leaders all around the world spread the idea that capitalism needed somehow to be reformed. 1 A couple of years later one might think that not much has been achieved in that direction and blame politicians for their lack of will. However, it is not so clear that reforms � even if the political will existed � would be easy to realize. As Danny Nicol argues, the neoliberal conception of capitalism is constitutionally shielded as a result of the content and the development of different but coexisting legal regimes such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the European Union (EU), and of the activism of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Describing the resulting �constitutional protection of capitalism� is precisely what this book is about: Nicol tries to determine to what extent national politics are predetermined by the ongoing economic integration. Or, putting it differently, his research aims at explaining how much room for manoeuvre states, and in particular the United Kingdom, maintain now that the international and European economic integration treaties they ratified years ago have evolved in an unexpected way. The author thus identifies two trends �that have pervaded the evolution of transnational regimes� (at 156), namely their widened scope and their enhanced binding character, and claims that such developments have a special impact on the freedom of Parliament to decide, 2 a freedom which, as we must bear in mind, is at the core of British constitutionalism. Both the title and the cover of this book, in which the symbol of the British Parliament, Big Ben, blurs among the buildings of the City, are very explicit about the national perspective from which this book approaches transnational regimes.

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