chapter  5
30 Pages

LAW AND THE POLITICAL ECONOMY

The responsibility of law and government remained that of balancing the nature and consequences of intervention with an appreciation of the wider public interest. Since the original publication of Economic Analysis in 1973, Richard Posner has refined his position to take account of various critiques, both political and ethical, and in response has underlined the distinction between ‘normative’ and ‘positive’ economic analysis. The political philosophy of the Treatises is founded upon precisely this theory of property, and John Locke emphasises the natural, indeed theological, authority for property ownership. Concentration on the ‘use’ of land introduces a particular context which lay at the heart of modern theories of political economy, the ‘labour mixing’ theory. Assuming the political and ethical challenge bequeathed by John Stuart Mill, John Kenneth Galbraith suggests that the demise of pure free market capitalism actually lies with the inadequate moral philosophy of utilitarianism.