Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Abstract

Professor Richard M. Buxbaum delivered the Fourth Annual Herbert L. Bernstein Memorial Lecture in Comparative Law in 2005 and this article is based on his remarks. The article is included in the inaugural volume of CICLOPs that collects the first six Bernstein lectures. In this paper, Richard Buxbaum is primarily concerned with the potential of comparative law as a method to bridge the disparities between the laws of nation-states and the needs of the globalized economy. Buxbaum investigates three separate roles for comparative law in closing this gap: First, he discusses the potential uses of comparative law with regard to the current primacy of national law over the increasingly transnational economic order. Second, he looks into the concern surrounding the growing need for national economic laws to move up a step; here, Buxbaum pays special attention to the problems and benefits created by federalism within both the American and the European systems. Thirdly, and finally, he tackles the elusiveness of what he calls “the slippery issue of ‘economic law’”. In dealing with each of these strands of thought, Buxbaum focuses predominantly on the European Union system and how comparative law can aid in its struggle not only to unify law, but also in efforts to coordinate law between national, sovereign entities. Due to the high degree of difference in the centralization of authority in the American system over the European Union, Buxbaum is able to cast into high relief the need for comparative law within Europe in the absence of a strong legislative body. Buxbaum uses comparative law to bridge the importance of national law in a transnational order with the challenges of achieving a unified economic law between nations, despite the inherent tension between the two concepts.