The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
Faculty of Law
P.O. BOX 4 (visiting address: Yliopistonkatu 3)
Tel: +358 (0)29 4123140




Work in Process -seminar with Professor Anne Orford (Melbourne Law School) on

The Role of the State in Reconstruction and Development: The Competing Internationalisms of Dag Hammarskjöld, Franz Neumann, Gunnar Myrdal and Alva Myrdal Anne Orford

5 May 2011 at 13.15 in P545 (Faculty meeting room).

Registrations to

Warm Welcome!



The innovations in the techniques of international executive rule introduced at the UN during Dag Hammarskjöld¹s term of office as Secretary-General have played a major role in shaping the management of decolonisation over the past fifty years. I have explored those techniques and their effect in a recent book, International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect (2011). That book explores the economic thinking that informed Hammarskjöld¹s vision of the proper role of the state in reconstruction and development, linking his vision to the approach to state planning taken by the German ordoliberals of the Freiburg school, and even more markedly by the neoliberal school that developed in the US through the influence of European émigrés such as Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises. Hammarskjöld¹s views on the role of the state in post-war Europe and its former colonies allied him with a US administration that was still shaped by the New Deal on the one hand but also by an emergent neoliberal economics on the other.

This paper is something of a prequel to that book. It will suggest that while Hammarskjöld¹s vision of the role of the state and of international organisations in managing reconstruction and development was influential, its dominance was neither inevitable nor uncontested. In particular, his vision was challenged both within the US administration and within his native Sweden. Within the US, post-war planning was undertaken by a range of US agencies ­ the War Department, the Department of State, the Foreign Economic Administration and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The positions those agencies took reflected fundamental differences in thinking about the role of the state in economic planning ­ differences that would come to have enormous significance both for European reconstruction and for decolonisation. This paper will focus in particular on the positions developed by the Research and Administration branch of the OSS, led by Franz Neumann (author of the hugely influential Behemoth, an analysis of National Socialism published in 1942 that had an immediate influence on American ideas about Germany both within and beyond the academy) and staffed by, inter alia, Herbert Marcuse, Otto Kirchheimer and John Herz. Within Sweden, Hammarskjöld¹s vision of state neutrality was challenged by two intellectuals who are now treated as major architects of the Swedish welfare state ­ fellow Stockholm school economist Gunnar Myrdal and Alva Myrdal. This paper will explore the stakes of these debates and trace the influence of their protagonists on the future of the state in Europe and the decolonised world.