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

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Oxford University Press, 2017 - Business & Economics - 396 pages
How can we promote economic progress in a staggeringly complex global system? In the bestselling book The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman argued that technology and globalization have leveled the playing field among workers and innovators worldwide. But why, ten years after he proposed thisthesis, are billions of people around the world still locked out of global prosperity and security?In Rules for a Flat World, law and economics professor Gillian Hadfield points to an outdated legal infrastructure as the cause of stagnating progress in the global economy. The world's biggest corporations are struggling to manage workers, and advance a consistent strategy, in dozens of countriesat once. Small businesses are being crushed by disruption a hemisphere away. Billions of people who constitute the bottom of the economic pyramid are still shut out of the technological, legal, and medical advancements that the other half of the world enjoys. Put simply, the law and legal methods onwhich we currently rely have failed to evolve along with technology. Hadfield argues not only that these systems are too slow, costly, and localized to support an increasingly complex global economy, but also that they fail to address looming challenges such as global warming, poverty, andoppression in developing countries.Instead of growing more agile and less expensive, our legal infrastructure is drowning in costs and complexity, all the while growing less capable of responding to the needs of businesses, governments, and ordinary people. Through a sweeping review of the emergence and evolution of law overthousands of years, Hadfield makes the case that our existing methods of producing law-via legislatures, courts, and bureaucracies-need supplementing. Markets, she argues, have the capacity to spur investment in regulation so that we can better manage smarter, faster, and more complicated economicsystems. Combining an impressive grasp of the empirical details of economic globalization with an ambitious re-envisioning of our global legal system, Rules for a Flat World is a crucial and influential intervention into the debates surrounding how best to manage the evolving global economy.

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About the author (2017)

Gillian Hadfield is the Daniel R. Fischel and Sylvia M. Neil Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, and the Richard L. and Antoinette Kirtland Professor of Law and Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California. She is the Director of the USC Center for Law and Social Science, and is a member of the Global Future Council on the Future of Technology, Values and Policy for the World Economic Forum.

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