Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy

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Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy
by Gillian K. Hadfield
Oxford University Press, 2016
408 pp.
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Anyone who has actually read the terms and conditions that Apple and many other firms require users to accept with a click of the mouse before using software or hardware knows how long, complex, and incomprehensible modern contracts have become—and how much privacy they demand that users give up. Contracts are not the only kinds of legal documents that have ballooned in this way: the median length of a U.S. Supreme Court decision has increased fourfold during the past 60 years. In this thought-provoking book, Hadfield argues that modern law has become too complicated, too costly, and too inflexible for a rapidly changing world. She attributes this rigidity to the fact that law is effectively monopolized by lawyers and argues that nonlawyers should be able to compete to provide certain legal services. Australia and the United Kingdom have already begun to move in that direction, in the belief that opening up the law will foster badly needed innovation.