Customary law as a social contract: International commercial law
AbstractMerchants broke the bonds of localized political constraints during the tenth and eleventh centuries to establish the constitutional foundations of international commercial law as we see it today. The medieval “Law Merchant” was an international legal system that governed without the centralized coercive power of the state. In order to see how this was possible, the incentives which led to the merchants community's social contract, as well as the rules and institutional arrangements that the resulting contract produced are examined and explained. A process of legal change evolved, participatory institutions were established to adjudicate disputes and effective incentives were implemented to induce compliance with the resulting judgements. The unwritten social contract established by the medieval business community remains in force to this day. International commercial law is still largely independent of nationalized legal systems, retaining many of the basic (though) modernized institutional characteristics of the medieval Law Merchant. James Buchanan suggested that “Free relations among free men—this precept of ordered anarchy can emerge as principle,” under an appropriately structured social contract. The international Law Merchant provides a historical and modern demonstration that Buchanan is indeed correct. Copyright George Mason University 1992
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Springer in its journal Constitutional Political Economy.
Volume (Year): 3 (1992)
Issue (Month): 1 (December)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102866
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- David Kreps & Paul Milgrom & John Roberts & Bob Wilson, 2010.
"Rational Cooperation in the Finitely Repeated Prisoners' Dilemma,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
239, David K. Levine.
- Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
- Fon, Vincy & Parisi, Francesco, 2008. "Role-reversibility, stochastic ignorance, and social cooperation," The Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 1061-1075, June.
- JEAN-MICHEL Josselin & ALAIN Marciano, 1997. "The Paradox of Leviathan: How to Develop and Contain the Future European State?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-22, January.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.