With far the greatest part of [hu]mankind, interest is the governing principle.... It is vain to exclaim against the depravity of human nature on this account.... No institution, not built on the presumptive truth of these maxims can succeed.
As a matter of moral analysis this statement may be of dubious validity. However, it aptly describes the environment within which international law, including trade law, and institutions are developed and the framework within which an analysis of these laws and institutions must be conducted. And while recognition of the importance of 'interest' in the development of trade policy may seem elementary, defining 'interest' is not easy. Does it mean economic interest, military interest, or diplomatic interest? How do these 'interests' interact with one another? Is it at all accurate or helpful to pigeonhole the different aspects of a country's 'national interest'?
As noted in Chapter 2, one of the most potent critiques of classical free trade theory is that it ignores the political or cultural objectives of nations in assessing the success of their international trade policy; trade theory does not seem at all interested in determining the 'interests', broadly defined, of participants in international trade. If anything, there is a tendency in classical free trade theory circles to deride the operation of 'interest' (whether in domestic policy making or in international trading relations). 2 However, less theoretically pure circles are now beginning to question the wisdom of this approach. Johns' and Porter's critiques signal the development of a greater sensitivity to and tolerance of the influence of non-economic factors in shaping domestic and international trade policy. The recognition of the legitimacy of non-economic interests should