Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



A question that motivates this essay is: What insights can we offer from legal scholarship that Dani Rodrik could take on board and put to good use?

Rodrik is an economist, but he might as well have been a lawyer in the way he builds his argument and anticipates counterarguments. I mean that as a compliment. As a bonus, he delivers the punch line with humor and grace. In his book I recognized several of the many contributions Rodrik has made: his argument for policy space and revitalization of industrial policy, the globalization trilemma, the idea and process of growth diagnostics and the idea of premature deindustrialization and the powerful challenge it presents to developing countries.

I also recognized familiar characters: hyperglobalization, the globalization cheerleaders, the economics professor who speaks with nuance and qualifications when talking about the benefits of trade to graduate students in the classroom but is completely simplistic and even disingenuous when talking to the media. Let’s call this character the “two-faced” economist. The book has many valuable ideas, but I want to focus on three themes: (1) the plurality of models, (2) fair trade and (3) the agenda for the nation-state.

Publication Citation

Alvaro Santos, Reflecting on Straight Talk on Trade, in World Trade and Investment Law Reimagined: A Progressive Agenda for an Inclusive Globalization 47 (Alvaro Santos, Chantal Thomas & David Trubek eds., London: Anthem Press 2019).