Global Socioeconomic Perspectives Journal

Global Socioeconomic Perspectives

Describe and assess how international law has addressed matters of trade, human rights, and the environment. How have these efforts contributed to developing or retarding the construction of global civil society? Why? The past ten years have shown a massive increase in trade and investment facilitated by the World Trade Organization as well as by regional and international financial institutions. China, India, Taiwan, South Korea and other emerging economies have become major investors in newly developing countries and this has produced a different kind of dynamic in that northern-based multinationals are now having to compete against companies that have cheaper labor costs, are not under effective legal constraints or reputational pressure to observe human rights standards, and have no worries about operating in countries where human rights are consistently violated and where such violations have become the back-drop to the companies’ activities (Crum, Rafter & Razook 2006). The Federal Trade Commission was founded in 1914 with its mission to prevent unfair methods of competition in trade. Congress has passed additional laws, which gives the FTC greater power to police anti-competitive practices. In 1938, Congress passed a prohibition against “unfair and deceptive acts or practices” (FTC 2010). Likewise, the International Trade Committee follows international trade proceedings and trade policy, mainly focusing on the regulation of imports — in the U.S. And other parts of the world. The ITC also covers trade agreement negotiations, implementation, and dispute settlement (ABA 2009).

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International laws are put into place in order to protect all individuals as well as to protect our global environment. With such organizations like the United Nations, laws put into place have helped maintain friendly relations among different nations as the purpose is to encourage and support a common goal (Viotti & Kauppi 2009). These efforts have contributed to global harmony in that there are settlement procedures agreed upon beforehand, prior to any events that may have to be settled. Some examples of how international law has helped are the Nicaragua-U.S. Conflict (1981-1990), the destruction of Korean Airlines flight 007 (1983) and the Air Services Agreement dispute between France and the U.S. (1978) (Noortmann 2005).


American Bar Association. “Section of International Law: International Trade

Committee.” 2009. Retrieved on June 26, 2010, from the Web site:

Crum, Nicole., Rafter, Grant., & Razook, Erica. “Human Rights, Trade and Investment

Matters.” Amnesty International. UK: Amnesty International, 2006.

Federal Trade Commission. “About the FTC.” 2010. Retrieved on June 26, from the Web


Noortmanm, Math. Enforcing International Law: From Self-Help to Self-Contained

Regimes. Ashgate Publishing, 2005.

Viotti, P., & Kauppi, M. International Relations and World Politics: Security, Economy,

Identity (4th edition). NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009.

Question 32: What are the components of Gross National Product (GNP)? How does it understate aggregate production in Third World countries where substantial economic production may be consumed directly and thus not reach markets where it can be measured? Finally, is per capita income (PCI) a good measure of the level of living people enjoy or are the data skewed, given substantial differences in the distribution of income especially in Third World countries? The components of Gross National Product (GNP) are more than 40% services. The two biggest components are real estate at 10% and health care at 12%. Non-durable products are 20% of GNP — food at 10%, clothing at 2.7% and fuel at 2.4% (the three largest). The remaining 30% of GNP is not for personal consumption. The 30% is divided into two categories — business investment and government (Tignor 2005).

In third world countries, their classification is different based on the fact that they are low-income countries (Viotti & Kauppi 2009). The people in these third world countries have harder lives and thus their life expectancy is lower as is their education level and social conditions. Because they are poor, they have less food, less safe water and generally unsafe living conditions. These countries cannot increase their GNP output per capital since GDP has to increase at a rate faster than the population grows. In under-developed countries, the population grows at a much faster rate than in developed countries and thus it makes it a challenge for the GNP output to increase (Lewis 2005).

Democracy is not often practiced in underdeveloped nations and thus the current convention imparts that social injustice and the lack of a democracy are the way out of poverty. Capital accumulation needs to go along with impoverishment of the peasantry and wretchedness for the worker in the early stages. As the rural surplus is absorbed, the labor movement will slowly impose better material conditions and political democracy (Tignor 2005).


Tignor, Richard L.W. Arthur Lewis and the Birth of Development Economics. Princeton University Press, 2005.

Viotti, P., & Kauppi, M. International Relations and World Politics: Security, Economy,

Identity (4th edition). NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009.

Question 41: Debate the following proposition: “The countries of India and China have a “right” to pollute the environment until they catch up with more industrialized countries.” India and China should not be able to pollute the environment until they catch up with more industrialized countries. However, that being said, both countries are far behind the west in terms of industrialization — and pollution – as well as the methods that they have to monitor their pollution (Leslie 2007). If both countries are “permitted” to pollute, then they should be “permitted” to figure out — as the west did — ways in which to monitor and control it. Like anywhere else and a lot of things, the sad fact is that pollution of the air and drinking water will affect the poor more than it will the middle and upper classes.

There is also the argument that since the United States technically owes a great deal of money to China, couldn’t we do something to help them catch up with technology? When it comes to the environment, we shouldn’t think about it as individual responsibilities — but rather, we should think about the issues as a global problem (Viotti & Kauppi 2009) and everyone should be willing to help another nation in need.


Leslie, J. “The Last Empire: China’s Pollution Problem Goes Global.” Mother Jones.

2007. Retrieved on June 22, 2010, from the Web site:

Viotti, P., & Kauppi, M. International Relations and World Politics: Security, Economy,

Identity (4th edition). NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009.

Question 42: What are the various methods of maintaining peace and unity in binational, multinational, and multiethnic states? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each method? There are various methods when it comes to maintaining peace and unity in binational, multinational, and multiethnic states. One of the most obvious methods would be to impose a common culture, which would mean sharing a common language as well as sharing some basic traditions. In other places where there is more struggle and conflict, police officers and other law enforcement officials may be needed in order to prevent fighting. Using police force is a very powerful way to monitor people’s behavior and bring forth severe punishments for those who go against the laws. Another less rigid method is to create a strong sense of a unified nation. The media can be employed for this and the government must make a strong commitment to bringing the nation together.

The chances of creating and maintaining peace in a binational, multinational, or a multiethnic state is a very difficult challenge. Multiethnic states that have tried to create a sense of peace and unity have not been very successful in the world’s history, but this does not mean that it is not possible (Viotti & Kauppi 2009). One can take a look at China to see that it is, indeed, possible. Creating a common culture and the sharing of specific traditions is a peaceful way of creating a sense of unity — although, it may be difficult to impose. Using police and law enforcement may be successful, but the downside is that there may be a lot of anger and frustration simmering underneath an imposed peaceful situation. Perhaps using the media and the government combined with creating a common culture is the best — most efficient, peaceful, and effective — way to achieve peace and unity.


Viotti, P., & Kauppi, M. International Relations and World Politics: Security, Economy,

Identity (4th edition). NJ: Prentice Hall, 2009.

Question 51: Should the United States take a more active role in support of universal human rights? If your answer is no, discuss your reasons. If your answer is yes, discuss what the priorities should be. Yes, the United States should take a more active role in support of universal human rights. In fact, the United States — as a global superpower — should be leading the cause. The number one priority should be the protection of women around the globe. “Up to 70% of women in certain countries are subjected to violence in their lifetime” (Jayashinghe 2010). Seventy percent is a lot of women and that cannot be ignored by the United States.

Amnesty International (2010) also reports that domestic violence is the major cause of death and disability for women ages 16 to 44 years. Of course, there isn’t any forgetting that women in Colombia and Darfur — places of dangerous armed conflict — are commonly raped. Amnesty International also notes that the trafficking of women has become a global issue; women are exploited sexually, raped, forced into hard labor and are victims of severe sexual and physical abuse.

The United States must take a stance in helping to protect women across the globe. On February 4, 2010, members of Congress introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), an important step in protecting, defending and empowering women around the world. This would be a groundbreaking law as we live in a world where “approximately 1 out of 3 women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime with rates of domestic violence reaching 70% in some countries” (Baha’i Faith 2010).


Amnesty International USA. “Stop Violence Against Women Campaign.” Amnesty

International. 2010. Retrieved on June 26, 2010 from the Web site:

Baha’i Faith. “Help Stop Violence Against Women Worldwide.” 2010. Retrieved on June

26, from the Web site:

Jayashinghe, Daphne. “Human Rights Commissioners Ask How the U.S. Can End

Violence Against Women.” Amnesty International. 2010. Retrieved on June 26,

2010, from the Web site:

Question 52: Discuss how the “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” might be applied to a contemporary conflict. Use two academic references to support your answer. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment can be applied to the conflict in Sudan. Darfur has been the area of much struggle between different ethnic groups for several years. In January of 2005 the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed, however, the problems are still ongoing today. The war is mainly characterized by a struggle between the northern Arabic-speaking Islamist government in Khartoum and the southern and mostly Christian and animist black rebels (European Parliament 2007). Human rights depends on stopping slaughter — torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment — in places like Darfur, and they also depend on prosecuting those who are responsible for the torture and cruelty. The crisis in Darfur and its cruel and inhumane treatment of individuals has called out for military help, however, they have not received the help needed in order to make a difference.

For a good long while, the crisis in Darfur seemed to be ignored for the most part by major global powers — such as the U.S. — who was, unfortunately, dealing with the aftermath of 9/11. but, the U.S. cannot have excuses when it comes to protecting human rights around the world.


European Parliament. “Background Note on the Political and Human Rights Situation in Sudan and Darfur.” 2007. Retrieved on June 27, 2010, from the Web site:…/696365en.pdf

Responsibility to Protect. 2010. Retrieved on June 26, 2010, from the Web site:

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