Chapter 1: Property rights and the regulation of immigrant labour
Through the examination of fundamental and fraught intersections between law and private property arrangements this book challenges law’s regulatory utility. From the critical understanding of exclusionist and oppressive private property relationships, endorsed, enabled and empowered by law, which shore up the cavernous and catastrophic wealth gaps threatening to irretrievably divide emergent and transitional economies, we critique law in failing the global sustainability project. We argue it need not be so. This analytical endeavour would chart an easy path if it remains examining normative and practical contradictions. However, our more proactive enterprise is advancing a strategy whereby legal regulation, particularly in its contract mode can be transformed in order to assist in making private property arrangements more inclusive, accessible and generally beneficial. If this can be achieved, rather than undermining such aspirations, law and legal regulation will contribute to the essential social bonds that establish and ensure sustainable market economies now and into the future as economic frames change. The governing theme in this text is the emergence of sustainability as a new global regulatory principle, advanced or retarded through law’s role in private property relations. What gives it particularity is the assertion that law’s regulatory function in protecting and perpetuating private property rights can either preclude or promote crucial economic and social relationships essential for sustainability. In the analysis to follow (see chapters 2 and 7), and in our previous work, sustainability is viewed as social bonding, and compatible regulation therefore becomes a force for bonding which is socially embedded.