Our legal system is committed to the idea that private markets and the law of contracts that supports them are the primary institutions for allocating goods and services in a modern economy. Yet the market paradigm, this book argues, leaves substantial room for challenge. For example, should people be permitted to buy and sell blood, bodily organs, surrogate babies, or sexual favors? Is it fair to allow people with limited knowledge about a transaction and its consequences to enter into it without guidance from experts?
This illuminating book explores under what conditions legal enforcement of contracts will promote both individual autonomy and social welfare...Trebilcock provides here the most nuanced and sustained analysis of what it means for private agreements to be sufficiently voluntary and informed to further either Paretian or Kaldor-Hicks notions of social welfare...Readers will respect the compassion and care Trebilcock brings to this subject matter...This is law and economics with a human face.
Trebilcock is unique among the adherents of the economic paradigm for the way he does justice to the complexities of views about the appropriate scope of the market domain. Even while defending the virtues of the market he takes seriously the arguments of feminists and communitarians who emphasize its vices. Above all, he takes seriously the overarching humanitarian agenda of ending deprivation and oppression.
- 310 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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