Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law

Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law, (Fifth Forum Press, 2015)

147 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2015

See all articles by Bruce Pardy

Bruce Pardy

Queen's University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 21, 2015

Abstract

Ecosystems contain their own immutable logic: competition for scarce resources leads to natural selection, in which those organisms better adapted to conditions survive and reproduce, resulting in evolutionary change. Markets share this logic: competition for scarce resources leads to commercial success for those enterprises better adapted to economic and social conditions, producing economic variation and development. In both, the dynamics of the system arise from the interaction of a multitude of individual actions, decisions and adaptations.

These basic features of ecosystems and markets are not controversial. No one versed in the ways of these systems would seriously propose to control the population of butterflies or the price of duct tape. Yet result-oriented government measures and practices have become commonplace, not because the systems are misunderstood, but because the role of the state is misconceived. Government policies are not able to dictate how ecosystems or markets work. The notion of prescribing particular ecological or economic ends conflicts with the natural behaviour of these systems and their immutable rules.

Modern legal regimes do not respect how ecosystems and markets operate, but ecosystems can provide insight about how the law should work. Legal decisions should emanate from a SYSTEM of governance. Isolated, instrumentalist legal commands are incompatible with the operation of law as a system. Providing ad-hoc answers case-by-case is as much of an affront to legal principles as controlling butterflies is to the nature of an ecosystem.

Keywords: Environmental Law, Ecosystems, Markets, Rule of Law, Ecosystem Management, Legal Philosophy, Legal Theory, Evolution, Natural Selection, Liberty, Economic Governance

JEL Classification: D40, D70, K10, K11, K32, Q28

Suggested Citation

Pardy, Bruce, Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law (September 21, 2015). Ecolawgic: The Logic of Ecosystems and the Rule of Law, (Fifth Forum Press, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2663505

Bruce Pardy (Contact Author)

Queen's University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Macdonald Hall
Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6
Canada
613-533-6000 Ext. 77570 (Phone)
613-533-6509 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.queensu.ca/facultyAndStaff/facultyDirectory/pardy.html.htm

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