Plunder: When the Rule of Law is Illegal / Edition 1

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Overview

The Rule of Law has long been cherished in the US as the ultimate defender of civil liberty and the American way of life - a Rule of Law which no one can quite define, but everyone supports. In this provocative new book, Ugo Mattei and Laura Nader wage a frontal assault on this treasured belief in the sanctity of the Rule of Law, unflinchingly exploring its previously neglected dark side. They expose its intimate relationship with plunder - the practice of violent extraction by stronger political actors victimizing weaker ones - in the service of Western cultural and economic domination.

Boldly conceived and vibrantly written, Plunder dares to ask the paradoxical question - is the Rule of Law itself illegal? Mattei and Nader expose global examples of plunder: of Native American lands, to colonialist interventions in Africa and Latin America, to the plunder of oil in Iraq; of ideas in the form of Western patents and intellectual property rights imposed on weaker peoples; and of liberty and the demise of the Rule of Law in the United States. This thought-provoking text is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary law, politics, and social justice.

About the Author:
Ugo Mattei is Professor of International and Comparative Law at University of California, Hastings and at the University of Turin, Italy

About the Author:
Laura Nader is Professor of Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley and is possibly the leading world authority in Anthropology of Law

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Plunder is a detailed, well written autopsy of how law and our legal system further strengthens the already powerful, while decimating those already located outside the reach of power. In the world of the post-economic collapse, Plunder is a painfully frightening roadmap decrying the dangers of the exact "legal" practices (derivatives, call options, etc.) that brought on the current economic crisis." (Multinational Monitor, Jan - Feb 2009)

“Without doubt this is an important book … Mattei and Nader have produced a courageous, intellectually refined, and superbly critical book about one of the main instruments of society-building in our culture. The book should find a wide audience in law classes, and in graduate courses of sociology, anthropology, and political sciences.” (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society, December 2008)

“A profound work that will find its way into many disciplines. The book is less about plunder than about the ethics and values implicated in the clash between social justice and competitive economics. Mattei and Nader conclude with a call for strategies to increase historical awareness. This book is one of those strategies, and the more worth reading for it. Recommended.” (Choice Reviews, December 2008)

"Without doubt this is an important book … Mattei and Nader have produced a courageous, intellectually refined, and superbly critical book about one of the main instruments of society-building in our culture. The book should find a wide audience in law classes, and in graduate courses of sociology, anthropology, and political sciences." (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405178945
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/11/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 899,689
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Ugo Mattei is Distinguished Professor of International and Comparative Law at University of California, Hastings and at the University of Turin, Italy. He is a widely published scholar in economic and political aspects of law and his work has been translated into many languages. His professional activities have included substantive periods of teaching and research in Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

Laura Nader is Professor of Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley and is possibly the leading world authority in Anthropology of Law. She has conducted fieldwork in Lebanon, Mexico, and the US and her groundbreaking work on harmony ideology and access to law and her unmatchable publication list make Nader one of the most interesting voices in the current academic scene.

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Table of Contents

Preface     viii
Introduction     1
Plunder and the Rule of Law     10
An Anatomy of Plunder     10
Plunder, Hegemony, and Positional Superiority     17
Law, Plunder, and European Expansionism     20
Institutionalizing Plunder: the Colonial Relationship and the Imperial Project     26
A Story of Continuity: Constructing the Empire of Law (lessness)     28
Neo-liberalism: Economic Engine of Plunder     35
The Argentinean Bonanza     35
Neo-Liberalism: an Economic Theory of Simplification and a Spectacular Project     42
Structural Adjustment Programs and the Comprehensive Development Framework     53
Development Frameworks, Plunder, and the Rule of Law     58
Before Neo-liberalism: a Story of Western Plunder     64
The European Roots of Colonial Plunder     64
The Fundamental Structure of US Law as a Post-colonial Reception     65
A Theory of Lack, Yesterday and Today     67
Before Neo-liberalism: Colonial Practices and Harmonious Strategies - Yesterday and Now     76
Plunder of Ideas and the Providers of Legitimacy     81
Hegemony and Legal Consciousness     81
Intellectual Property as Plunder of Ideas     83
Providing Legitimacy: Law and Economics     88
Providing Legitimacy: Lawyers and Anthropologists     100
Constructing the Conditions for Plunder     111
The Plunder of Oil: Iraq and Elsewhere     111
The New World Order of Plunder     120
Not Only Iraq: Plunder, War, and Legal Ideologies of Intervention     123
Institutional Lacks as Conditions for Plunder: Real or Created?     128
"Double Standards Policy" and Plunder     130
Poverty: Justification for Intervention and Consequence of Plunder     133
International Imperial Law     137
Reactive Institutions of Imperial Plunder     137
US Rule of Law: Forms of Global Domination     142
Globalization of the American Way     144
An Ideological Institution of Global Governance: International Law     150
Holocaust Litigation: Back to the Future     155
The Swallowing of International Law by US Law     158
Economic Power and the US Courts as Imperial Agencies     164
Hegemony and Plunder: Dismantling Legality in the United States     168
Strategies to Subordinate the Rule of Law to Plunder     168
Plunder in High Places: Enron and its Aftermath     172
Plunder in Even Higher Places: Electoral Politics and Plunder     176
Plunder of Liberty: the War on Terror     179
Plunder Undisrupted: the Discourse of Patriotism     191
Beyond an Illegal Rule of Law?     196
Summing Up: Plunder and the Global Transformation of Law     196
Imperial Rule of Law or the People's Rule of Law?     202
The Future of Plunder     211
Notes to Text     217
Selected Further Reading     240
Documentary Film Resources     266
Index     273
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