International Economic Law and the Hidden Abode of Social Reproduction
In this essay I argue that a Social Reproduction lens provides us with invaluable resources for thinking about the role that International Economic Law (IEL) plays in the re/production of global inequalities and planetary injustices. Drawing on critical conversations between ‘Wages for and against housework’, intersectional feminisms, and ‘Third world approaches to International Law’ (TWAIL), I point to three insights in particular. The first is about the mythical separation of the sphere of production from that of social reproduction under capitalism for the purpose of extracting value and accumulating capital, with IEL involved in constantly re/drawing the boundaries between these spheres. The second insight concerns the centrality of unpaid and devalued labour in transnational production, with IEL contributing to the invisibilisation and/or devaluation of specific forms of labour and the overvaluation of others. The third insight is about the role that social hierarchies and divisions, sustained in and through law, play in processes of labour exploitation and devaluation on the one hand and value extraction and capital accumulation on the other .
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