Customary law as a social contract: International commercial law
Merchants 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
If 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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- 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.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:3:y:1992:i:1:p:1-27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)or (Rebekah McClure)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.