Efficiency Instead of Justice?
Economic analysis of law is an interesting and challenging attempt to employ the concepts and reasoning methods of modern economic theory so as to gain a deeper understanding of legal problems. According to Richard A. Posner it is the role of the law to encourage market competition and, where the market fails because transaction costs are too high, to simulate the result of competitive markets. This would maximize economic efficiency and social wealth.
In this work, the lawyer and economist Klaus Mathis critically appraises Posner’s normative justification of the efficiency paradigm from the perspective of the philosophy of law. Posner acknowledges the influences of Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham, whom he views as the founders of normative economics. He subscribes to Smith’s faith in the market as an ideal allocation model, and to Bentham’s ethical consequentialism. Finally, aligning himself with John Rawls’s contract theory, he seeks to legitimize his concept of wealth maximization with a consensus theory approach.
In his interdisciplinary study, the author points out the possibilities as well as the limits of economic analysis of law. It provides a method of analysing the law which, while very helpful, is also rather specific. The efficiency arguments therefore need to be incorporated into a process for resolving value conflicts. In a democracy this must take place within the political decision-making process. In this clearly written work, Klaus Mathis succeeds in making even non-economists more aware of the economic aspects of the law.
Enables interdisciplinary-minded researchers and practitioners to look over the rim of their own subject disciplines and beyondAddresses not only the philosophical substance of the demand for economic efficiency, but also introduces the modern concepts of social ethicsRepresents a well-founded academic treatise on the economic analysis of law addressing the tension between efficiency and justiceEasy to read text, despite its analytical detail and depth