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Ugo Mattei

This chapter reflects upon a paradigm shift in international legal theory from the materialistic and extractive mentality of the Industrial Age to a new vision of the world as governed by a network of generative ecological principles. The title of this chapter is inspired by the book written with Fritjof Capra, The Ecology of Law: Towards a System in Tune with Nature and Community (2015). This chapter advances a quite provocative thesis that locates itself in a line of analysis aimed at the radical critique of some of the fundamental assumptions of the modern conception of the rule of law. It aims to think about international law in a more holistic and ecological perspective than what is common in the dominant Anglo-American professional legal setting. It will attempt to answer the question as to whether international law can be ‘ecological’ – that is, in tune with both nature and community. The hypothesis is that it cannot. Instead, international law might be its own greatest problem, promoting a silent ethos of exploitation of the ‘other’ by reducing empathy and facilitating extraction; this is called the ‘evil technology hypothesis’. The benefit of looking at international law in this way lies in the whole new horizon of questions it opens up, specifically about the scales of our economic system, of our civilization, and of our fundamental dependency on a model of extraction transforming the commons into capital.

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Ugo Mattei

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Edited by Ugo Mattei and John D. Haskell

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John D. Haskell and Ugo Mattei

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Edited by Ugo Mattei and John D. Haskell

Events such as the global financial crisis have helped reveal that the drivers and contours of governance on a national and international level remain a mystery in many respects. Set in this context, this timely Research Handbook is the first to explicitly address the constitutive relationship between law and political economy. With scholarly contributions from diverse disciplinary and geographic backgrounds, this authoritative book covers, in three parts, topics surrounding money and markets, the relations of organization, and commodities, land and resources.
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Ugo Mattei and Alessandra Quarta

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Ugo Mattei and Alessandra Quarta

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Ugo Mattei and Alessandra Quarta

In this chapter we analyze the cultural and legal evolution of property rights. We discuss the role of the owner’s right to exclude, in order to verify the limits of a paradigm of property based on exclusivity. Our focus will be redistribution, the commodification of natural resources, as well as transformations of the paradigm by technological developments. At the end of the chapter, commons are presented as the best legal tool for modifying property through a focus on access and qualitative relationships.

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Ugo Mattei and Alessandra Quarta

In this chapter we present legal personality and sovereignty, taking into account their historical evolution. The focus is the progressive personalization of public authorities such as the State and corporations. We emphasize the limits of these abstract institutions in the light of the challenges of the global market and technological devices. We present a catalogue of materials that indicate a counter-hegemonic interpretation of existing legal institutions (worker buyouts and self-managed enterprises; new public corporations managed as commons; benefit corporations) as well as the emersion of new non-human subjects, such as animals and natural resources (e.g., rivers, tree, lakes).

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Ugo Mattei and Alessandra Quarta

In this chapter we analyze contract law, one of the fundamental institutions of the market. Classical legal theories in this field typically present the contract as an agreement that results from the negotiation between two parties. We will demonstrate the limits of this reconstruction, even by listing and describing interesting cases in which a contract realizes cooperation. We will describe the impact of important technological tools on the role and importance of the contract: blockchain technology and smart contracts represent a frontier for legal scholars who study this institution.