Linking International Markets and Global Justice

The U.S. government is the planet’s largest purchaser of goods and services; worldwide, states spend trillions of dollars on procurement each year. Yet legal scholarship has devoted relatively limited attention to the conceptual and normative issues that arise when states enter the market. Should states as purchasers be permitted to “discriminate” to advance social objectives – say, racial justice – in ways that would be unlawful when they act as regulators? Is each country free to strike its own balance between the pursuit of economic and social objectives through procurement, or do international trade norms limit state discretion in the name of economic efficiency? Should states be permitted to use procurement to advance social objectives, like environmental protection or worker rights, in other states? Government procurement is often viewed as a legal labyrinth of arcane tendering procedures, murky supplier qualifications, and obscure challenge mechanisms. In Buying Social Justice: Equality, Government Procurement, and Legal Change (“BSJ”), Christopher McCrudden challenges this understanding and details how procurement law and policy is profoundly linked with the pursuit of social justice.