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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 7: Property as the social

Property, Power and Market Economies

Mark Findlay

Extract





… the ship (has run) aground on a conception … that insists on the separate nature of economy and society.467

Polanyi noted of mercantilist states:

The chancelleries and courts of the prerogative were anything but conservative in outlook: they represented the scientific spirit of the new statecraft, favouring the immigration of foreign craftsmen, eagerly implanting new techniques, adopting statistical and precise methods of reporting, flouting custom and tradition, opposing prescriptive rights, curtailing ecclesiastical prerogatives, ignoring Common Law. If innovation makes the revolutionary, they were revolutionaries of the age.468

These observations confirm our fear that whether it is mass driven, or determined by self-interest, radical transitions in property arrangements have uncertain problematic implications for the position of property within the social. Additionally, when the economic trumps the social in market contexts, then integral social ties which are meant to infuse property and law with sustainable social benefit are soon valued in terms of the profit they produce or discarded though failure in the same terms. Central to our argument concerning law’s regulatory relevance is property’s pivotal role in shaping social-economic relations, and law’s essential place in determining property arrangements with the economic and the social. This chapter’s critical interpretation of property socially located requires law to enable access rather than exclusion for the purposes of exchange. As with communal spaces, properties should be areas of congregation, not battlefields which characterise the global city (see Chapter 4).

The neo-liberal revolution emerging out...

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