Globalization in the form of foreign direct investment has not lived up to its promise to promote prosperity around the world. Many of the anticipated benefits to developing countries and their citizens have yet to materialize. True, laws promoting foreign direct investment contribute to technology transfer, increased tax revenues, and other economic benefits. However, existing laws are lax, one-sided, or limited in scope. They allow transnational corporations to cause harms like property damage, personal injury, and significant environmental damage. Insufficient protections and limited avenues for redress encourage transnational corporations to chase profits with limited concern for consequences.
I argue that modern foreign direct investment law is a vestige of the colonial era during which early forms of transnational corporations emerged. Unlike international trade law and despite the dramatic developments of the twentieth century, foreign direct investment law remains largely unchanged. Due to a lack of political will, prior multilateral efforts to implement comprehensive foreign direct investment law reforms have been largely unsuccessful. However, in recent years, growing political will has emerged under the umbrella of Global Corporate Citizenship and related movements. In this article, I posit that Global Corporate Citizenship is an opportunity to reframe and reform foreign direct investment law.
This paper is part of a larger project on Law and Global Corporate Citizenship in which I analyze ways to reform the regulation of transnational corporations. In this series of articles, I identify gaps in the international and domestic regulation of transnational corporations, explore reasons for these gaps, set out a Global Corporate Citizenship framework for more comprehensive regulation, and develop proposals for the implementation of this framework.
18 Mich. St. J. Int'l L. 1 (2009).
Anderson, Rachel J., "Toward Global Corporate Citizenship: Reframing Foreign Direct Investment Law" (2009). Scholarly Works. Paper 290.