ECOHERENCE - Reconciling economic and non-economic values in a multi-polar society
A dual process of globalization and fragmentation is, perhaps paradoxically, turning societies into functionally differentiated spheres, each with their particular rationalities and specialized expert communities. As a result, the administration and management of societal challenges are creating a growing number of conflicts, in particular where economic and non-economic values interact.

Ecoherence was a research project funded by a three-year grant from the Academy of Finland (2013-2016). The project was conducted by a team of researchers that combined the expertise of the Faculty of Law at the University of Turku and the Institute for European Studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Taking the dual processes of globalisation and fragmentation as its basis, the objective of Ecoherence was to research and develop the legal mechanisms to reconcile economic and non-economic values in international, EU and national economic law decision-making. The project sought ways to understand and improve the mechanisms’ systemic coherence in a multi-polar society.

The project analysed weighing norms in four areas of economic law: trade, competition, intellectual property and investment. The project produced more than 30 scientific publications, most of which were published in peer-reviewed international periodicals (e.g. CMLRev) and books (e.g. Hart, Springer). Three doctoral theses were completed. The results paint a refined picture of how the weighing norms operate, what are their inherent problems and how the studied weighing norms differ from each other. One conclusion was that the weighing norms marginalize certain values, often non-economic ones (e.g. environmental values). The research suggested ways to improve the operation of the weighing norms. The results of the project have affected the scholarship of others as demonstrated e.g. by citations, requests to present in conferences and further research collaborations. The results are also highly relevant for the political and judicial actors.

To visit the project page on IES webpage, please click here.