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Historical Perspective On Corporate Participation Within The International Legal Order

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Chapter Summary

This chapter chronologically presents a flavor of corporate activity within the international legal order since earliest recorded history until the contemporary era. The symbiotic relationship between commercial actors and ruling elites is evident in the construction of early empires, the merchant guilds and trade fairs of the medieval period, the exercise of governmental authority and exclusive trading privileges by the chartered companies of the colonial period and the influence of American corporations on global affairs. The trend from bilateral diplomacy to multilateral action through intergovernmental institutions was paralleled by the emergence of politically organized business groups, such as the International Chamber of Commerce. Corporate participation within the U.N. system is circumscribed by the U.N. Charter, the constituent instruments of Specialized Agencies, organizational procedural rules, governing body decisions and contemporary secretariat practices.

Keywords: corporate participation; international legal order; U.N. Charter



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