"It's a short, vital introduction to ISDS history and use, the shocking ways in which corporations have used it to bend governments to their will, and the total lack of justification for using such mechanisms in developed, stable countries." -- The Week
International trade deals have swiftly emerged this year as politically controversial, attracting both condemnation and confusion from voters all over the world.
In this book, investigative journalist Haley Sweetland Edwards focuses on one crucial aspect of these massive agreements: a powerful provision called Investor-State Dispute Settlement, which allows foreign corporations to sue sovereign nations before little-known supranational arbitration tribunals.
Edwards makes the case that these tribunals (or "shadow courts"), which were designed 50 years ago to protect foreign investors' property rights abroad, are now being exploited by multinational corporations at the expense of sovereign nations and their citizens. From the 1960s to 2000, corporations brought fewer than 40 cases through these tribunals. In the last 15 years, they've brought nearly 650.
In the course of her reporting, Edwards interviewed dozens of policymakers, activists, and government officials in Argentina, Canada, Bolivia, Ecuador, the European Union, and in the Obama administration. The result is a major story about a significant shift in global power.