Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance

ACELG Presentation: EU Economic Law in the Process of Embedding Markets

Jotte Mulder, LL.M., ACELG

10Apr2012 13:15 - 14:15


Jotte Mulder, LL.M., ACELG

The starting point of this doctoral research is the recognition of a duality in the Treaty. The Treaty promotes free trade and competition as supranational interests but at the same time recognizes that they can be limited by concerns ‘other’ than free trade and competition. These ‘non-market interests’ are widely diverse but can be roughly categorized as deriving from social, cultural or environmental spheres. They emerge from abstract spheres into the concrete through interventions. The non-market interest intervention is a blurred and dynamic concept and hence difficult to grasp. It is blurred because the borderline between market and non-market is increasingly difficult to determine. It is dynamic because, depending on which rights and obligations are regarded legitimate and what kind of hierarchy between these rights and obligations are accepted by the members of a society, an intervention could be considered an ‘intervention’ on free trade in one (snapshot of) society and not in another.

The study critically assesses the mechanisms and rationale of the EU legal infrastructure and case law that govern the interplay between market and non-market interests and introduces ideas of Karl Polanyi (1957) for this purpose. Polanyi’s thesis submits that the division of society into an economic and political sphere by accepting principles of gain and profit as organizing forces in society is a main contributor to the rise of unstable (disembedded) societies. A contemporary interpretation of Polanyi’s work provides an urgent moral necessity for a legal framework that allows instruments of democratic governance to transcend non-market based interventions to an institutional domain beyond commodity logic. The role of EU economic law in this process of embedding markets is the central concern of this study.

The presentation will focus on why Polanyi’s ideas are relevant today and, specifically, how the Polanyian concepts embeddedness, the commodity fiction and the double-movement can be employed for interesting research on the interplay between market and non-market interests in the EU legal framework.


Jotte Mulder
is currently pursuing his PhD research as an external PhD candidate at ACELG, after having worked for several years as associate lawyer at Stibbe law firm Amsterdam. In this presentation he will give an outline of his PhD research.

Venue and registration

Tuesday, 10 April 2012, 13.15 – 14.15
Oudemanhuispoort 4-6, 1012 CN Amsterdam, E 2.01

  • Oudemanhuispoort

    Oudemanhuispoort 4-6 | 1012 CN Amsterdam
    +31 (0)20 525 3361

    Go to detailpage


Published by  ACELG