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Law's Regulatory Relevance?

Property, Power and Market Economies

Mark Findlay

Law’s Regulatory Relevance? theorises how the law should reposition itself in order to help rather than hinder new pathways of market power, by confronting the dominant neo-liberal economic model that values property through scarcity. With in-depth analysis of empirical case studies, the author explores how law is returning to its communal utility in strengthening social ties, which will in turn restore property as social relations rather than market commodities. In a world of contested narratives about property, valuing law needs to ground its inherent regulatory relevance in the ordering of social change.
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Chapter 6: Re-embedding original property through repositioned law

Property, Power and Market Economies

Mark Findlay


… a community lens … is set to a delicate frequency: seeking similarity, appreciating difference.407

Following on from the case studies which are designed to reveal the complex relationship between contested collective consciences, commodified law, and exclusionist property frames, it is now necessary to say more in defence of law’s regulatory relevance. This chapter advances the argument that returning law to a communal resource408 (in what we refer to as new or repositioned law)409 will invigorate law’s regulatory purchase in contexts where property arrangements are in radical transition. Whether it be through demands for wider access to internet information, resistance to social exclusion in the global city, or retaliation against the disempowering consequences of free trade, we see a need for law to assume the function of an orderly change agent. By this we intend a form of legal regulation for the broadest social good rather than the narrowest property commodification in the name of individualised rights and wealth creation. The purpose and potential of this transformed law will mean that instead of preventing a return to what we see as more equitable situations of original property, which the commodification of law has up until the present entailed, law as a communal resource can and will assist in the social re-embedding of markets in property (for a wider discussion of this, see Chapter 3). Law, therefore, will exhibit a more ideologically consistent function, not only to stimulate a market double movement410 but to give order...

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