The international relations of the modern era are governed increasingly by rules (governance regimes) and typically mediated or overseen by a vast array of international, regional and multilateral institutions. By one estimate, for example, there are currently over 4,000 international rule regimes and several hundred international institutions that govern issue areas as diverse as international trade and commerce, security, investment, clearance and financial settlements, labour practices, maritime shipping, migration, food and agriculture, telecommunications, refugees, aviation, drugs and crime, tourism, health and education. In addition, in the post-war era there has been an explosion of standards regimes, all designed to enhance the trans-border efficiencies in the movement of goods and services by reducing ‘regulatory unevenness’ and non-transferability. These include standards regimes in accounting, reporting and transparency, weights and measurements, food safety, hazardous materials and waste management, pollution, fisheries and oceans, meteorology forecasting, risk management, transfer pricing, taxation, communications, and space junk ─ among many others.
The courses introduces students to the history, evolution and practices of international institutions and international rule regimes, why and how they have emerged, the trajectories of their evolution, and their impact on states and state based policy making. Specifically, the course examines the embedded and structurally dominant nature of these regimes for international commerce, security, and finance, and the contested nature of these governance regimes in terms of the changing nature of the post-war international institutional architecture.