Systems Thinking and the Law in the Age of the Anthropocene

Chapter 3 in Beate Sjåfjell, Carol Liao and Aikaterini Argyrou (eds), Innovating Business for Sustainability: Regulatory Approaches in the Anthropocene (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2022).

University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2021-20

15 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2021 Last revised: 23 Sep 2022

See all articles by Hanna Ahlström

Hanna Ahlström

Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Date Written: December 16, 2021

Abstract

Society’s mental models and causal beliefs are being seriously challenged by the complexity, scale and speed of global environmental change in the Anthropocene. To understand how to regulate business in this context, a recognition of the interconnectedness and interdependency between business and the rest of society and the environment is crucial. Social-ecological systems (SES) thinking is an approach that facilitates a better understanding of how to see the relationship between structure and behaviour, which can alleviate the understanding of how systems work. However, despite its convincing benefits, it is yet to be fully integrated into legal analysis. Building on recent literature in the field, I delineate business law as fit for purpose in the Anthropocene through synthesising the terms institutional fit complexity, interconnectivity, and polycentricity from an ethical perspective. The SES approach is uniquely suited for this exercise as it warrant that all relevant issues are taken into account.

Keywords: Business Law; Systems thinking; Anthropocene; Ethics

Suggested Citation

Ahlström, Hanna, Systems Thinking and the Law in the Age of the Anthropocene (December 16, 2021). Chapter 3 in Beate Sjåfjell, Carol Liao and Aikaterini Argyrou (eds), Innovating Business for Sustainability: Regulatory Approaches in the Anthropocene (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2022). , University of Oslo Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2021-20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3987281

Hanna Ahlström (Contact Author)

Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences ( email )

Lilla Frescativägen 4A
Stockholm, 11418
Sweden

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