TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Monday, August 17, 2020

Bohrer on Steering Away from Self-Interest

Bob Bohrer has posted to SSRN Crisis and Cultural Evolution:  Steering the Next Normal from Self-Interest to Concern and Fairness.  The abstract provides:

This essay examines the current time of crisis and offers a vision of the way in which our society and our law can evolve in response. Crises of this scale are evolution-forcing events and I argue that the current moment can move us towards a fundamentally different vision of law and justice. It is the first essay or article to show that the autonomous pursuit of self-interest was a common assumption or value in the major intellectual forces of the twentieth century: classical free market economics, behavioral economics, and sociobiology, as well as in the competing visions of a just society of John Rawls and Robert Nozick. After introducing the alternative normative frameworks of caring developed by Carol Gilligan and of concern developed by Leslie Bender, I show how the common law of torts and contracts embraced self-interest as a value and then how tort and contract law could embrace the values of concern and fairness. I conclude that the danger of a culture that values the autonomous pursuit of self-interest above all else has been exposed by our current crisis and that an evolution towards a cultural regard for concern and fairness is a must.

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