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The Dignity of CommerceMarkets and the Moral Foundations of Contract Law$
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Nathan B. Oman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226415529

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226415666.001.0001

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date: 27 May 2020

Contract Law, Efficiency, and Morality

Contract Law, Efficiency, and Morality

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter Four Contract Law, Efficiency, and Morality
Source:
The Dignity of Commerce
Author(s):

Nathan B. Oman

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226415666.003.0004

This chapter examines the relationship between the market argument offered in this book and the two dominant schools of contract law theory: efficiency analysis and deontological theories. Efficiency standing alone does not provide a powerful normative justification for the law in large part because it relies of a deeply problematic notions of welfare. Nevertheless, efficient legal rules will tend to strengthen markets so long as they do not replace the process of exchange with non-market mechanisms. Likewise, deontological morality provide a poor account of contract law, but that morality tends to support markets. Accordingly, it should be encouraged, where possible, in the commercial context with contract law. Seeing markets are morally valuable independent of formal efficiency analysis thus provides tools for integrating insights from both economics and moral philosophy into a theory of contract law.

Keywords:   efficiency and morality, efficiency, deontology, markets

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