Stephen Copp – The Legal Foundations of Free Markets

In this video Stephen Copp discusses his recent book The Legal Foundations of Free Markets. In it he brings together some of the world’s leading figures in the field of law and economics to discuss questions that are central to our understanding of how a free-market economy operates.

Though most people accept that a free economy cannot exist in a legal vacuum, important questions about how systems of law come into being and what form they should take remain in dispute. The authors shed light on some of these issues, such as whether common law systems are better than codified law systems; the relationship between natural law and government law; whether systems of law evolve within societies or are imposed from above by government; and the role of human rights, as guaranteed by constitutions. After examining these questions, the authors then proceed to look at specific problems that are frequently disputed by economists – such as the role of competition law; the relationship between law, regulation and economics; and how the law can protect the environment without onerous regulation.

This collection is an important contribution to the literature in the field of law and economics. It is important both for economists who wish to understand more about the origins and purposes of law and regulation,and for lawyers who need to understand more about the economic foundations of sound legal systems.