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Access_open Hybrid Constitutionalism, Fundamental Rights and the State

A Response to Gunther Teubner

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2011
Keywords societal constitutionalism, Gunther Teubner, system theory, fundamental rights
Authors Gert Verschraegen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This contribution explores how much state is necessary to make societal constitutionalism work. I first ask why the idea of a global societal constitutionalism ‘beyond the state-and-politics’ might be viewed as a significant and controversial, but nonetheless justified innovation. In the second part I discuss what Teubner calls ‘the inclusionary effects of fundamental rights’. I argue that Teubner underplays the mediating role of the state in guaranteeing inclusion or access, and in a way presupposes well-functioning states in the background. In areas of limited statehood there is a problem of enforcing fundamental rights law. It is an open question whether, and under which conditions, constitutional norms within particular global social spheres can provide enough counter-weight when state constitutional norms are lacking.


Gert Verschraegen
Gert Verschraegen is Assistant Professor of Theoretical Sociology at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

    Africa is a major source of commodities and other natural resources. However, such wealth has not yet led to economic development or to increased living standards. On the contrary, Africa remains underdeveloped while other regions of the world enjoy significant, if not spectacular, success. Between 1970 and 2008, the pro-capita income of African energy-exporting countries has increased 72%, while that of African Least Developed Countries has decreased 13%, and that of remaining African countries has increased 31%; in the same period of time, the increase in pro-capita income for South Asian and East Asian low income countries has been, respectively, 236% and 223%, and that of China a staggering 1,531%.


Luca G. Castellani
Legal officer with the UNCITRAL Secretariat, Vienna, Austria. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.

    Multinational Companies may result in culture clashes, incompatibility of Western corporate governance and legal resolution strategies. As one of the most successful joint venture models, the high-profile Danone/Wahaha dispute has been accelerated into a two-year legal feud against the infringement of the famous brand of WAHAHA across jurisdictions. The case represents a significant watershed which reflects the status quo of controversies over cooperation and competition in China. Under the current legal framework, Danone’s withdrawal would serve as a wake-up call for both foreign investors and Chinese companies in the dramatically increasing cross-border merger & acquisitions. The seminal case perfectly illustrates unwritten issues about public opinion, nationalism and the rule of law. Danone v. Wahaha has also been commonly conceived as a landmark case through which Chinese side may verify the fairness of the Western judicial system, while the European party may regard it as a touchstone for China’s investment environment as well as the specific sphere of contract spirit. It also offers myriad lessons, including the need for watertight contracts, IP rights, and international arbitrations.


Quingxui Bu
Dr. iur., LL.M. (Queen’s University).
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