Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


James Bacchus

First Page



A final point I would make to students who are here today and about to go out into the legal world would be this: I have noticed that what I do is a bit controversial in some places. Why is that so?

It is because the world is changing and because, understandably, people have apprehensions about change. It is also because there is very little understanding of what it is that we are doing in Geneva. Consciously, and intentionally, I have spent my first years on the Appellate Body in silence. Vanderbilt is one of the few places where I have spoken. It has been important for all of us who are Members of the Appellate Body to focus on establishing our institution, to speak with one voice, and to submerge our own identities into the system itself. I have tried very hard to do that. But, meanwhile, the world has continued to turn, and with its turning we have watched the growing apprehension around the world about what has come to be called "globalization." Not only in the United States, but in every country of the world, there is apprehension about the challenges globalization poses, and about what it will mean for individual human beings in our daily lives, and in our future together. This is understandable.

In considering this, I would simply ask those who are apprehensive about globalization to remember our old friend Thucydides. The WTO is the result, not the cause, of globalization. The choice we face is not between globalization and no globalization. Rather, the choice we face is between an increasingly "globalized" world in which we will be ruled by the arbitrary exercise of economic and political power, or one in which we will have the rule of law.

My own view is that we need more international law, not less. We need the rule of law. And we need the WTO.