Hostile Business and the Sovereign State: Privatized Governance, State Security and International Law, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Hostile Business and the Sovereign State

Privatized Governance, State Security and International Law, 1st Edition

By Michael J. Strauss


190 pages

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Hardback: 9781138296145
pub: 2018-12-14
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This book describes and assesses an emerging threat to states’ territorial control and sovereignty: the hostile control of companies that carry out privatized aspects of sovereign authority. The threat arises from the massive worldwide shift of state activities to the private sector since the late 1970s in conjunction with two other modern trends – the globalization of business and the liberalization of international capital flows. The work introduces three new concepts: firstly, the rise of companies that handle privatized activities, and the associated advent of "post-government companies" that make such activities their core business. Control of them may reside with individual investors, other companies or investment funds, or it may reside with other states through state-owned enterprises or sovereign wealth funds. Secondly, "imperfect privatizations:" when a state privatizes an activity to another state’s public sector. The book identifies cases where this is happening. It also elaborates on how ownership and influence of companies that perform privatized functions may not be transparent, and can pass to inherently hostile actors, including criminal or terrorist organizations. Thirdly, "belligerent companies," whose conduct is hostile to those of states where they are active. The book concludes by assessing the adequacy of existing legal and regulatory regimes and how relevant norms may evolve.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Privatization of States

Chapter 2. Extremes of Privatization

Chapter 3. Companies for Privatized Activities

Chapter 4. Control over Territory

Chapter 5. Company Ownership and Control

Chapter 6. Tracking Control and Influence over Companies

Chapter 7. The State and Its Business Abroad

Chapter 8. A Divergence of Interests

Chapter 9. Opaque Company Behavior Toward States

Chapter 10. Companies in Defiance of States

Chapter 11. "Imperfect Privatizations" and Territorial Control

Chapter 12. Defending Against Hostile Companies

Chapter 13. Challenges to States’ Defensive Measures

Chapter 14. Challenges for International Law

About the Author

Michael J. Strauss is a professor of international relations and public international law at the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques in Paris, and an instructor of international economic law at Université de Paris 5 (Paris Descartes). He has also been teaching annual international law courses as an invited professor at the Belarusian State University and International University "MITSO" in Minsk. Thanks to an earlier career as an awardwinning business and financial journalist, he brings new perspectives and insights to issues of territorial control.

About the Series

Globalization: Law and Policy

Globalization: Law and Policy
Globalization: Law and Policy builds an integrated body of scholarship that critically addresses key issues and theoretical debates in comparative and transnational law. Volumes in the series focus on the consequential effects of globalization, including emerging frameworks and processes for the internationalization, legal harmonization, juridification, and democratization of law among increasingly connected political, economic, religious, cultural, ethnic, and other functionally differentiated governance communities. Legal systems, their harmonization and incorporation in other governance orders, and their relationship to globalization are taking on new importance within a coordinated network of domestic legal orders, the legal orders of groups of states, and the governance frameworks of non-state actors. These legal orders engage a number of important actors, sources, principles, and tribunals”including multinational corporations as governance entities, contract and surveillance as forms of governance that substitute for traditional law, sovereign wealth funds and other new forms of state activity, hybrid supra national entities like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and international tribunals with autonomous jurisdiction, including the International Criminal Court, the World Trade Organization, and regional human rights courts. The effects have been profound, especially with respect to the role of states, and especially of the United States as its long time position in global affairs undergoes significant change. Comparative and transnational law serve as natural nexus points for vigorous and sometimes interdisciplinary approaches to the study of state and non-state law systems, along with their linkages and interactions. The series is intended as a resource for scholars, students, policy makers, and civil society actors, and includes a balance of theoretical and policy studies in single-authored volumes and collections of original essays.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Commercial Policy
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Corporate & Business History
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Government & Business
LAW / Commercial / International Trade
LAW / Constitutional
LAW / International
LAW / Government / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Trade & Tariffs