Economics of Justice

ISBN-10: 0674235266

ISBN-13: 9780674235267

Edition: 1983

Authors: Richard A. Posner

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Description:

Richard A. Posner is probably the leading scholar in the rapidly growing field of the economics of law; he is also an extremely lucid writer. In this book, he applies economic theory to four areas of interest to students of social and legal institutions: the theory of justice, primitive and ancient social and legal institutions, the law and economics of privacy and reputation, and the law and economics of racial discrimination. The book is designed to display the power of economics to organize and illuminate diverse fields in the study of nonmarket behavior and institutions. A central theme is the importance of uncertainty to an understanding of social and legal institutions. Another major theme is that the logic of the law, in many ways but not all, appears to be an economic one: that judges, for example, in interpreting the common law, act as if they were trying to maximize economic welfare. Part I examines the deficiencies of utilitarianism as both a positive and a normative basis of understanding law, ethics, and social institutions, and suggests in its place the economist's concept of "wealth maximization." Part II, an examination of the social and legal institutions of archaic societies, notably that of ancient Greece and primitive societies, argues that economic analysis holds the key to understanding such diverse features of these societies as reciprocal gift-giving, blood guilt, marriage customs, liability rules, and the prestige accorded to generosity. Many topics relevant to modern social and philosophical debate, including the origin of the state and the retributive theory of punishment, are addressed. Parts III and IV deal with more contemporary social and jurisprudential questions. Part III is an economic analysis of privacy and the statutory and common law rules that protect privacy and related interests-rules that include the tort law of privacy, assault and battery, and defamation. Finally, Part IV examines, again from an economic standpoint, the controversial areas of racial and sexual discrimination, with special reference to affirmative action. Both Part III and Part IV develop as a subtheme the issue of proper standards of constitutional adjudication by the Supreme Court.
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Book details

List price: $41.00
Copyright year: 1983
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 8/16/1983
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 428
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

Richard A. Posner is Circuit Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

An Introduction to the Economics of Nonmarket Behavior The Plan of the Book
Justice and Efficiency
Blackstone and Bentham
Blackstone's Commentaries Bentham's Antipathy to Blackstone
Blackstone and Bentham Compared
Utilitarianism, Economics, and Social Theory
Some Problems of Utilitarianism Wealth Maximization as an Ethical Concept
The Ethical and Political Basis of Wealth
Maximization The Consensual Basis of Efficiency
Implications for the Positive Economic
Analysis of Law Dworkin's Critique of Wealth Maximization
The Origins of Justice
The Homeric Version of the Minimal State
A Taxonomy of Limited Government
Government and Political Values in Homer
The Homeric Social Order Homeric
Individualism Some Modern Parallels
The Theory of the State
A Theory of Primitive Society
The Costs of Information
A Model of Primitive Society Other
Primitive Adaptations to High Information Costs
The Economic Theory of Primitive Law
The Legal Process Property Contracts Family Law
The System of Strict Liability in Tort Criminal Law
Retribution and Related Concepts of Punishment
From Revenge to Retribution, and Beyond
Pollution: Retribution against
Neighbors and Descendants Guilt versus Responsibility
Privacy and Related Interests
Privacy as Secrecy
The Economics of Private
Information and Communications
The Tort Law of Privacy
A Broader View of Privacy
The Etymology of Privacy: Seclusion and Autonomy
Evidence for the Economic
Theory of Privacy
The Common Law and the Economic
Theory of Privacy Defamation and Disparagement
The Statutory Privacy Movement
The Privacy Jurisprudence of the Supreme Court
Privacy Cases before Griswold
The Griswold Decision Privacy in the Supreme Court since Griswold
Conclusion
The Supreme Court and Discrimination
The Law and Economics of Discrimination
The DeFunis Case and Reverse Discrimination
The Reasonableness of Reverse Discrimination
The Constitutional Issue
Bakke, Weber, and Beyond Bakke Weber
Index
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