"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Historical Imagery, Legitimation and Lex Mercatoria

The Current Issue of Law and Contemporary Problems contains an article on Historical Imagery, Legitimation and Lex Mercatoria. An interesting read.
This article illustrates twin points. First, far from being an extrinsic display of erudition, historical imagery about the ancient law merchant is employed to legitimate modern notions as to what the governance of international business transactions should be. Second, such historical imagery is almost as diverse as the divergent conceptions and agendas within the mercatorist coalition. A close examination of mercatorist historical narratives will allow us to scrutinize the efforts at legitimation and to better understand the normative agenda and the structure of arguments employed in the lex mercatoria discourse.
[This article (and my previous readings on the subject) makes me wonder if there was a "lex mercatoria" in India in the ancient and the medieval times. India, as we have read in history, was famous for sea trade with many nations in the ancient as well as medieval times. Can anybody throw light on this aspect?]

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