The Dignity Of Commerce: Markets And The Moral Foundations Of Contract Law

Hardcover | January 19, 2017

byNathan B. Oman

not yet rated|write a review
Why should the law care about enforcing contracts? We tend to think of a contract as the legal embodiment of a moral obligation to keep a promise. When two parties enter into a transaction, they are obligated as moral beings to play out the transaction in the way that both parties expect. But this overlooks a broader understanding of the moral possibilities of the market. Just as Shakespeare’s Shylock can stand on his contract with Antonio not because Antonio is bound by honor but because the enforcement of contracts is seen as important to maintaining a kind of social arrangement, today’s contracts serve a fundamental role in the functioning of society.

With The Dignity of Commerce, Nathan B. Oman argues persuasively that well-functioning markets are morally desirable in and of themselves and thus a fit object of protection through contract law. Markets, Oman shows, are about more than simple economic efficiency. To do business with others, we must demonstrate understanding of and satisfy their needs. This ability to see the world from another’s point of view inculcates key virtues that support a liberal society. Markets also provide a context in which people can peacefully cooperate in the absence of political, religious, or ideological agreement. Finally, the material prosperity generated by commerce has an ameliorative effect on a host of social ills, from racial discrimination to environmental destruction.

The first book to place the moral status of the market at the center of the justification for contract law, The Dignity of Commerce is sure to elicit serious discussion about this central area of legal studies.
 

Pricing and Purchase Info

$64.50 online
$65.00 list price
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Why should the law care about enforcing contracts? We tend to think of a contract as the legal embodiment of a moral obligation to keep a promise. When two parties enter into a transaction, they are obligated as moral beings to play out the transaction in the way that both parties expect. But this overlooks a broader understanding of t...

Nathan B. Oman is professor of law at William and Mary Law School.  
Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:January 19, 2017Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022641552X

ISBN - 13:9780226415529

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Dignity Of Commerce: Markets And The Moral Foundations Of Contract Law

Reviews

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

“Oman is a careful analyst and commentator who offers novel and interesting insights into contract law and contract law theory. He has grounded his argument on an impressively wide range of legal and nonlegal scholarship and case law, and his argument is consistently clear and persuasive.”