Law and Economics

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A respectable school of legal and economic analysis which is often abused by libertarian academics for ideological propaganda purposes. It has been used extensively to train judges in corrupt economic conservatism. It's the obvious omissions of interests besides libertarian values that makes those books bogus.


“As if the Last 30 Years Never Happened”: Towards a New Law and Economics, Part 1 [More...]
"... law and economics was birthed by the foundations and political entrepreneurs of economic conservatism... the training and involvement of judges (complemented by the academic achievements) that proved the most profitable gambit." A good smackdown of conservative training of judges.
“As if the Last 30 Years Never Happened”: Towards a New Law and Economics, Part 2 [More...]
Antitrust doctrine was changed with a myopic "consumer welfare standard" that ignores the harms to workers, small companies, and many other parties as market power (and monopoly) is increased.
Are Economists Ideologically Biased? [More...]
Economists like to think they’re immune from ideological influence. New research shows otherwise.
Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive State [More...]
Property systems are coercive. Robert Hale points out in 1923: [T]he systems advocated by professed upholders of laissez-faire are in reality permeated with coercive restrictions of individual freedom and with restrictions, moreover, out of conformity with any formula of "equal opportunity" or of "preserving the equal rights of others." A difficult read.
It Took Decades, But The Anti-New Deal Crusaders Have Triumphed [More...]
"But law and economics as a scholarly approach would have had a much more limited impact if it were not for another product of right-wing philanthropy: the Federalist Society, a club for right-wing law students that would produce reliable ideological cadres to staff positions in the courts and state and federal bureaucracies to help put these ideas into practice."
Law and Economics (Cooter and Ulen) (book)
Libertarians Are Huge Fans of Economic Coercion [More...]
"Hale showed that all economic regimes rely upon economic coercion, laissez-faire ones just as much as socialist ones."
On Piketty's Capital: What Is Wealth? [More...]
"For Piketty, wealth and capital are ultimately socially constructed categories. [...] The pioneer of this legal constructivist account of market valuation was legal realist Robert Hale. [...] Laws do not just affect valuation of assets. Laws are the very core of asset values."
Order without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes (book)
How social norms can substitute for law in small, close-knit communities. Interesting, but not a substitute for law or state because (a) it requires close-knit communities, (b) it doesn't scale up to the size of modern states, (c) maintaining a close knit community requires severe limits on liberty, (d) communities rely on the state for the stability of their property and communities (the foundation that social norms are built upon), and (e) we'd expect out-group externalities to be maximized.
Richard Epstein (11 links)
A law-and-economics, laissez-faire, University of Chicago professor who views the world through the greedy reductionist peephole of property rights. Neoliberal propaganda.
Standard Oil, Monopoly and Predatory Pricing (3 links)
For decades libertarians have relied on the egregious revisionist history of Standard Oil by John McGee of the Chicago School to declare predatory pricing and monopoly rare and impractical. This claim has been thoroughly refuted by legal and economic research, both empirical and theoretical. Now it is up to the courts to catch up with academia.
The Progressive Assault on Laissez Faire: Robert Hale and the First Law and Economics Movement (book) (2 links)
The first, full-length study of Hale's work, which showed that "private", unregulated economic relations were in fact determined by a state imposed regime of property and contract rights which were hard to square with common-sense notions of social justice.
The Republic of Beliefs: A New Approach to Law and Economics (book)
Argues that the traditional economic analysis of the law has significant flaws and has failed to answer certain critical questions satisfactorily.


But -- speaking of economics -- there’s basically an infinite market for glib pseudo-academic bullshit, if it protects and enhances the political and economic power of the already wealthy and powerful. That, more than anything else, is the base on which the intellectual Potemkin village that Epstein and his ilk have built continues to rest so securely.
Paul Campos, "A Plague Of Libertarians"
What’s amusing about libertarians and laissez-faire people (and the loose way certain economists talk) is that they will describe my choice to pay rent as non-coerced and voluntary while describing my choice to pay income taxes as coerced and involuntary. But there is no neutral construction of “coercion” that would ever support such a distinction. As Hale aptly demonstrates, coercion occurs when there are “background constraints on the universe of socially available choices from which an individual might ‘freely’ choose.”
Matt Bruenig, "Libertarians Are Huge Fans of Economic Coercion"
… Economic doctrines always come to us as propaganda. This is bound up with the very nature of the subject and to pretend that it is not so in the name of ‘pure science’ is a very unscientific refusal to accept the facts.
Joan Robinson, in Marx, Marshall And Keynes