What determines the flow of labor and capital in this new global information economy? Who has the capacity to coordinate this new system, to create a measure of order? And what happens to territoriality and sovereignty, two fundamental principles of the modern state?
Losing Control? is a major addition to our understanding of these questions. Examining the rise of private transnational legal codes and supranational institutions such as the World Trade Organization and universal human rights covenants, Saskia Sassen argues that sovereignty remains an important feature of the international system, but that it is no longer confined to the nation-state. Sassen argues that a profound transformation is taking place, a partial denationalizing of national territory seen in such agreements as NAFTA and the European Union.
Two arenas stand out in the new spatial and economic order the global capital market and the series of codes and institutions that have mushroomed into an international human rights regime. As Sassen shows, these two quasi-legal realms now have the power and legitimacy to demand accountability from national governments, with the ironic twist that both depend upon the state to enforce their goals.