My interest increases from my professional perspective of economist because I have never understood the lack of interest and certain apathy of some of my colleagues for legal questions and institutions. While previously these matters were considered fundamental for economists, that indifference began to be especially notorious starting from the last third of the 19th century, and it continues. Especially from the marginalist Walrasian revolution of general balance the theory concentrates exclusively on the “neutral” analysis of the economic agents’ behaviour and the markets without considering the effective legal and ethical institutions in each society. From this point of view, Law and the Economy, as sciences and the practical forming of different theoretical conceptions, pass along roads and rough tracks that never meet. The few coincidences are limited to the most legal areas in economic and managerial sciences, or to the most economic for the sciences of public and private Law. 

That lack of communication crashes against the most elementary common sense that if the Law has justice (giving each one what he deserves) as its objective, and economic activity has to continually value situations or goods and services towards the attainment of the ideal Value, both disciplines, the human reality that they study being unique, have many areas of coincidence and mutual dependence. The forms of organization, the political system and the legal framework of a society condition the form and effectiveness in which citizens undertake and solve their economic urgencies. It is easy to notice that the legal system creates incentives or disincentives in a wide fan of directions inducing or moderating people to behave in different ways in their economic chores. The design of a modern legal system is very important for the economic vitality of a country, responsible freedom being the cornerstone that responds better to the citizens’ desires and objectives. 

Overcoming distances, the legislative framework and legal system exercise a similar function in society to that of the “talker” of Vargas Llosa for the Machiguenga people. The talker was a bond of unity of those people scattered through the Peruvian Amazon forest. In spite of the great geographical and sentimental distances that separated them, thanks to the impenitent, awaited and admired chatterer, they formed a community and shared a tradition, beliefs, some more or less ancestral customs and a way of focusing the different daily activities. They transmitted a kind of circulating sap that made a society of the Machiguengas, a town of free beings but at the same time connected. If the » talker » was lacking the people would possibly be broken up into a thousand independent but solitary fragments. 

Laws exercise a beneficial effect similar to the one commented on, but only the good laws, the good principles. I make this last nuance because the danger in our current legal Socialist system that has lasted more than fifty years, is in fact the contrary. Wanting to control and regulate everything or almost everything causes the peaceful but effective rebellion of citizenship and the disorder that was sought to avoid. If we summarize the essence of freedom of starting in the possibility that the economic agents can adopt their own decisions, there is no doubt that this so simple definition contrasts with a real legal world that presses us with an eternity of all kinds of regulations. As Pedro Torres, spokesman of the Tribunal of Competition Defence indicated, it is difficult to carry out any activity without finding yourself hemmed in by regulations imposed by the public authority looking for the most varied objectives; from health to the environment, from price to quality, from European normalization to achieve the single market to the repression of pornography in the media, from the imposition of using one or more fixed languages on product labels, to the chemical composition of the inks in which they are printed…» 

It is necessary to be very careful with elephantine legislative delirium, even though they are by majority. Many times they can go directly and in an accumulative way against the initiative and freedom of individuals. Scientific and theoretical investigation, and especially economic activity, has always needed, and continues to need, individual initiative and personal freedom to make possible that the conclusions or results to which people arrive, maybe contrary to authority, prevail. It is necessary to be very careful, as the prestigious professor Bruno Leoni indicates, with a system by which a handful of people, which we rarely know personally, is qualified to decide what everyone should do, and within some very vaguely defined limits, or practically without limits.                                                 

JJ Franch Meneu 

Autonomous University of Madrid