The Law of Contracts

The Law of Contracts

What kinds of agreements are covered by the law of contracts?  Professor Richard Epstein of NYU School of Law gives a basic definition, then goes through a variety of transactions, from simple to complex, where contracts with increasing degrees of formality are used.  He also discusses the role the law of contracts plays in the greater social order - it allows people to use their specific skills in a more optimal way, creating a net benefit for society.

 

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6 of 11: Do standard agreements lead to exploitation? Advantages of standard agreements [No. 86]

Do mass contracts lead to exploitation? A landmark article by Friedrich Kessler, "The Contracts of Adhesion--Some Thoughts about Freedom of Contract Role of Compulsion in Economic Transactions" (Columbia Law Review in 1943), argues that they do, a ... Do mass contracts lead to exploitation?

A landmark article by Friedrich Kessler, "The Contracts of Adhesion--Some Thoughts about Freedom of Contract Role of Compulsion in Economic Transactions" (Columbia Law Review in 1943), argues that they do, and many contracts professors today agree with him.

Professor Richard Epstein of NYU School of Law, however, disagrees. He argues that they are more efficient, that people who don’t like the terms of a mass contract can simply go to a competitor, and that they almost alway provide a form of remedy. Standard contracts provide a way for people who might not be secure in their own knowledge to rely on others who are more informed.

Professor Epstein is the inaugural Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and Professor of Law Emeritus and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

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RELATED LINKS

Friedrich Kessler, The Contracts of Adhesion--Some Thoughts about Freedom of Contract Role of Compulsion in Economic Transactions https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWwcngsYgoUX3i5tMPI9kDQtoLuOXCsN_

Richard Epstein: The Neoclassical Economics of Consumer Contracts
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWwcngsYgoUX3i5tMPI9kDQtoLuOXCsN_

Exploitation, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWwcngsYgoUX3i5tMPI9kDQtoLuOXCsN_

George Gluck, Standard Form Contracts: The Contract Theory Reconsidered https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWwcngsYgoUX3i5tMPI9kDQtoLuOXCsN_