The Colombian Constitutional Court versus the International Monetary Fund: Economic Reforms, Social Rights and Sovereignty

By Rodriguez, Liliana Lizarazo | Ibero-americana, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

The Colombian Constitutional Court versus the International Monetary Fund: Economic Reforms, Social Rights and Sovereignty


Rodriguez, Liliana Lizarazo, Ibero-americana


I. INTRODUCTION

One of the implications of the process of globalization concerns the diffusion of regulatory competences across governance levels and across state borders. New regulating actors have appeared on the scene, both externally (e.g. IMF, WTO) and internally (e.g. constitutional courts, mixed private-public entities). Especially in developing countries, the regulatory autonomy of the traditional actors (governments and parliaments) has further weakened and reaches sometimes worrying low levels.

This paper presents a case study of Colombia and builds further on an ongoing debate on the compatibility between the Intel-nationalization of the economy and macro-economic stability, on the one hand, and the recognition of the economic and social rights as fundamental rights, on the other, and on the implications of the growing complexity of the economic reality for constitutional case law with economic effects (Clavijo, 2001, 2004; Kugler and Rosenthal, 2005; Kalmanovitz, 2001, 2002; Uprimny, 2000, 2001, 2002; Alesina, 2002). This controversy is a local reflection of a debate that is also going on at the global level between, for example, the IMF that is regulating the global economy and the United Nations who are defending the right to development (cf. also Burgos, 2000; De Feyter, 2002).1

Defenders of the Constitutional Court (CC) in Colombia sustain that sentences should not take into account economic consequences; otherwise, it would become a politicized body (Uprimny, 2000a). Economists, however, consider that adjudications should be efficient and reflect the opinion of the majority (Kalmanovitz, 2001, 2002; Clavijo, 2001; Palacios, 2001:10-11; Kugler and Rosenthal, 2005). Moreover, the CC was accused of contributing to a sub-optimal allocation of scarce resources, solving problems for minorities but endangering rights and welfare of the citizens in general, and obstructing social policies of the State (Kalmanovitz, 2001:153-156; Palacios, 2001:10-11 ).

In Colombia, in the present situation, the CC is playing an active role in the process of economic regulation through the sentences of constitutional control (judicial review) which have erga omnes effects2, but also through the action of protection of fundamental rights (A.P.F.R.) (Acción de Tutela).3 It has also issued sentences which do not only establish the (un)constitutionality of a law but which give compulsory orientations to the legislator to produce norms to regulate certain sectors (in particular, financial and labor market regulations). In other cases, the CC explicitly stated that it will not necessarily follow the regulations in force (cf. health system) and decided to apply directly the constitutional principles even if these decisions have a negative impact from a macroeconomic point of view (Uprimny, 2000).

Simultaneously, the influence of the multilateral banks on the formulation of economic policies increased with the necessity to have access to external public credit and with the problems related to the generalized financial crises. As a consequence, the Colombian economic authorities signed three structural adjustment agreements with the IMF: an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) (1999-2002), a Stand-By Agreement (20022004) and a second Stand-By Agreement (2005-2006)4. All of them imposed institutional reforms to obtain macroeconomic stability. Some of these reforms were presented and, in some cases, approved by the Congress before the presentation of the IMF program. Other regulations were in accordance with the action plans of each economic sector that was targeted, although they were not part of the list of structural commitments in the agreements.

The interaction (and tensions) between these new "regulators" started when the CC modified or reversed some of the reforms enacted to comply with the IMF agreements. Although the CC declared the constitutionality of the articles of the IMF agreements and their amendments as valid and applicable international treaties, it did not attribute any normative value to the more specific structural adjustment agreements.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Colombian Constitutional Court versus the International Monetary Fund: Economic Reforms, Social Rights and Sovereignty
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.