Bruno Leoni's Legacy and Continued Relevance

Journal of Private Enterprise, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 131-141, 2015

George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 14-49

12 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2014 Last revised: 7 May 2015

See all articles by Todd J. Zywicki

Todd J. Zywicki

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: September 29, 2014

Abstract

In his famous book, Freedom and the Law, originally published in 1961, Italian lawyer-economist Bruno Leoni posed the question of whether over the long run a society and legal system premised primarily on legislative law-making could sustain a system of individual liberty, or whether such a system required a common law-style foundation to support it. In this article I evaluate Leoni’s challenge and find that his predictions about the nature of a legislative-centered legal system not only are more relevant than ever, but that recent tendencies toward extreme and arbitrary law-making by executive edict are consistent with the trends and intellectual principles that Leoni identified over 50 years ago. By identifying the underlying jurisprudential theories that generated the current state of affairs, Leoni’s warnings are even more relevant today than ever before.

Keywords: Bruno Leoni, F.A. Hayek, common law, legislation, spontaneous order, judicial process

JEL Classification: B3, K00, K1

Suggested Citation

Zywicki, Todd J., Bruno Leoni's Legacy and Continued Relevance (September 29, 2014). Journal of Private Enterprise, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 131-141, 2015; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 14-49. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2503080 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2503080

Todd J. Zywicki (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8091 (Phone)
703-993-8088 (Fax)

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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