Why the Law Is So Perverse

ISBN-10: 022600581X
ISBN-13: 9780226005812
Edition: 2012
Authors: Leo Katz
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Description: Conundrums, puzzles, and perversities: these are Leo Katz’s stock-in-trade, and inWhy the Law Is So Perverse, he focuses on four fundamental features of our legal system, all of which seem to not make sense on some level and to demand explanation.  More...

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Book details

List price: $22.50
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 11/6/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 5.75" wide x 8.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Conundrums, puzzles, and perversities: these are Leo Katz’s stock-in-trade, and inWhy the Law Is So Perverse, he focuses on four fundamental features of our legal system, all of which seem to not make sense on some level and to demand explanation. First, legal decisions are essentially made in an either/or fashion—guilty or not guilty, liable or not liable, either it’s a contract or it’s not—but reality is rarely as clear-cut. Why aren’t there any in-between verdicts? Second, the law is full of loopholes. No one seems to like them, but somehow they cannot be made to disappear. Why? Third, legal systems are loath to punish certain kinds of highly immoral conduct while prosecuting other far less pernicious behaviors. What makes a villainy a felony? Finally, why does the law often prohibit what are sometimes called win-win transactions, such as organ sales or surrogacy contracts?           Katz asserts that these perversions arise out of a cluster of logical difficulties related to multicriterial decision making. The discovery of these difficulties dates back to Condorcet’s eighteenth-century exploration of voting rules, which marked the beginning of what we know today as social choice theory. Condorcet’s voting cycles, Arrow’s Theorem, Sen’s Libertarian Paradox—every seeming perversity of the law turns out to be the counterpart of one of the many voting paradoxes that lie at the heart of social choice. Katz’s lucid explanations and apt examples show why they resist any easy resolutions.           The New York Times Book Reviewcalled Katz’s first book “a fascinating romp through the philosophical side of the law.”Why the Law Is So Perverseis sure to provide its readers a similar experience. 

Naomi Klein was born in Montreal, Canada on May 8, 1970. She attended the University of Toronto and began writing there for the student newspaper, The Varsity. Klein was offered a series of editorial jobs in newspapers and magazines and this prevented her from getting a final degree from the university. She worked for The Toronto Globe and Mail and This Magazine. She is an author and social activist, who is known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization. Her books include No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate, and The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. She received the 2014 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction for This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.Leo Katz is the Frank Carano Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is the author of Bad Acts and Guilty Minds: Conundrums of the Criminal Law and Ill-Gotten Gains: Evasion, Blackmail, Fraud, and Kindred Puzzles of the Law, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Why Does the Law Spurn Win-Win Transactions?
Things We Can't Consent To, Though No One Knows Why
A Parable
Lessons
The Social Choice Connection
Why Is the Law So Full of Loopholes?
The Irresistible Wrong Answer
What Is Wrong with the Irresistible Answer?
The Voting Analogy
Turning the Analogy into an Identity
Intentional Fouls
Why Is the Law So Either/Or?
The Proverbial Rigidity of the Law
Line Drawing as a Matter of Life and Death
Why Don't We Punish All We Condemn?
The Undercriminalization Problem
Multicriterial Ranking and the Undercriminalization Problem
Final Thoughts
Notes
Index

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