On financial nationalism and international law. sovereignty, cooperation and hard/soft governance in international finance


The prevailing view among legal scholars over the last decade is that international financial collaboration is a resolutely cooperative venture that cannot be reduced to the interests or relative power of individual states. Moving along this line, the book under review shows that the protection of financial nationalism contributes to the creation of global systemic risks. In this review essay, I discuss the three overarching themes addressed in the book – namely, the logic of financial nationalism, the role of soft and hard law in the international governance of finance and the related problem of compliance. International financial law is still emerging as a discipline and the issues under discussion are at the heart of the ongoing debate about how to devise adequate international structures and international norms to govern markets and control systemic risks in finance. Proceeding from a critical approach to the international law of finance, I analyse the book’s focus on financial nationalism and the limits of its juxtaposition with the economic logic of externalities; the case for strengthened formalization; and, finally, the extent to which the theoretical framework proposed in the book is relevant for rethinking the logic and prospect of compliance in international finance.