Arbitration tribunals are buried in thousands of trade treaties, linking more than 179 countries. Called Investor-State Dispute Settlements, or ISDS, these tribunals allow private corporations to sue sovereign nations if they believe terms of a treaty were violated. In 2010, tobacco giant Philip Morris International used arbitration tribunals to sue Sierra Leone and Uruguay for putting health-warning labels on cigarette packages, and it has gone on to file suits against Australia and the European Union. Time correspondent Haley Sweetland Edwards goes behind the scenes to tell the story of the most outrageous recent arbitration cases, and takes a hard look at the power these shadow courts hold over the world.

Haley Sweetland Edwards (Part 1): The History of Investor State Dispute Settlements

Haley Sweetland Edwards (Part 2): Profit vs. Ethics in Investor State Disputes

Haley Sweetland Edwards
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

About the Author:

Haley Edwards is a correspondent at Time. Previously, she was an editor at the Washington Monthly, where she wrote about policy and regulation. From 2009 to 2012, she lived in Yemen and reported on a half-dozen countries in the Middle East with articles appearing in The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Foreign Policy online and in The New York Times’ Latitude Blog. Her travel was sponsored largely by a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and the Overseas Press Club Fellowship. She started her career as a resident reporter at The Seattle Times. She studied philosophy and history at Yale and journalism and politics at Columbia. She lives in Washington, DC.

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The Museum of American Finance is the nation’s only independent museum dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and teaching about American finance and financial history. Housed in an historic bank building on Wall Street, the Museum’s magnificent grand mezzanine banking hall provides an ideal setting for permanent exhibits on the financial markets, money, banking, entrepreneurship and Alexander Hamilton.

The Museum is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) Smithsonian affiliate creating non-ideological presentations and programs for purposes of education and general public awareness. Financial education is at the core of the Museum’s mission, seeking to promote lifelong learning and inquiry.

As a chronicler of American financial achievement and development, the Museum seeks to play a special role as a guardian of America’s collective financial memory, as well as a presenter and interpreter of current financial issues, thereby connecting the past with the present while serving as a guide for the future.