Handbook on the Rule of Law
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Handbook on the Rule of Law

Edited by Christopher May and Adam Winchester

The discussion of the norm of the rule of law has broken out of the confines of jurisprudence and is of growing interest to many non-legal researchers. A range of issues are explored in this volume that will help non-specialists with an interest in the rule of law develop a nuanced understanding of its character and political implications. It is explicitly aimed at those who know the rule of law is important and while having little legal background, would like to know more about the norm.
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Chapter 11: The rule of law and the rise of capitalism

Tor Krever

Abstract

This chapter considers the relationship between the rule of law and the rise of capitalism, tracing the development and insights of two prominent theoretical traditions. One tradition is rooted in the social theory of Max Weber and his work on legal rationality as a prerequisite for capitalist markets. This neo-Weberian tradition, the chapter argues, encompasses the modernization theories of Talcott Parsons and the Law and Development movement, as well as contemporary theories of ‘good governance’ now dominant in the major international financial institutions. The other tradition discussed in the chapter is associated with the work of Karl Marx and his insights on law and its roots in capitalist social relations. The chapter identifies two prominent strands within this tradition, one emphasizing class struggle in the shaping of a capitalist rule of law, and the other tracing the very legal form itself to the rise of capitalism.

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