- Hardcover: 408 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199916527
- ISBN-13: 978-0199916528
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.3 x 6.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy 1st Edition
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"[A] thought-provoking book."--Foreign Affairs
"Amid a surfeit of works which chronicle how technology has changed the modern world, this book stands out for its rigor and its elevated sense of purpose...Essential."--CHOICE
"We give far too little thought to how our institutions work and whether they are doing their job in the midst of rapid social and technological change. This book is a treasure trove of fresh thinking on these deep topics."
-- Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature
"Rules for a Flat World is a rare book: both an advocacy charter for a more rational and inclusive legal system, and a scholarly tome that tells the story of law, from ancient times to the contemporary. Hadfield's book makes for a most absorbing read and should be of interest to scholars and lay people alike."
-- Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank, and Professor of Economics and C. Marks Professor Cornell University
"A thoughtful and thought-provoking look at one of the compelling questions of our time: in the face of massive changes to commerce, culture, and community, can our legal systems and infrastructure adapt to keep pace with the change? Gillian Hadfield answers that question in the affirmative, but with a call to arms that anyone interested in the relationship between law and society should hear. Engagingly written, I highly recommend this book to lawyers, business people, and all of us who are caught up in the arc of global change."
-- Bruce Sewell, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Apple
"Technology is putting stress on laws that were developed primarily for the industrial revolution. In this fantastic book, Hadfield shows how we got where we are, and demonstrates how markets can help build better law. This book is an essential and delightful read for anyone interested in economics, politics, international relations, the impact of technology on people, and, of course, law."
-- R. Preston McAfee, Chief Economist, Microsoft
"This important book is at once an education and a manifesto. Drawing on economics, jurisprudence and legal history, Hadfield argues with authority that our legal institutions are out of step with advances in the digital world. She calls for greater investment, innovation, and competition in legal services and, crucially, challenges lawyers and policymakers to think very differently about the future role of law in society."
-- Richard Susskind, co-author of The Future of the Professions
"Gillian Hadfield's Rules for a Flat World is a tour de force from an omnivorous intellect. Hadfield moves nimbly between history, sociology, law, and economics to explain how and why we built our modern legal system, and how complex changes in the global economy are forcing it to evolve. Hadfield makes clear that our increasingly wired world requires a new justice system, and opening the legal system to market-driven innovation is the best way to get there. Rules for a Flat World is an amazing accomplishment, and anyone who wants to clearly understand the trends driving change in law and society should put this book at the top of their reading list."
-- Colin Rule, Founder and COO, Modria.com and former Director of Online Dispute Resolution, eBay and PayPal
"The last few decades have witnessed extraordinary growth in complex, efficient and digitized supply chains. These activities create wealth while posing unprecedented challenges for legal institutions. Modes for enforcing contracts had to change, and governments and private actors continue to experiment with responses to piracy of intellectual property and trade secrets. Gillian Hadfield brings uncommon clarity, reach, and depth to her analysis of these trends and their causes. Her important book will open the reader's eyes to the legal challenges shaping all the major economies of the world."
-- Shane Greenstein, MBA Class of 1957 Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School and author of How the Internet Became Commercial
"Gillian Hadfield brings together with remarkable clarity what I have seen and have struggled with for a long time in many countries, in many environments: not only do most justice systems not deliver the value they could and should, the design and production machine for getting them to deliver that value is also broken. For the sake of billions of our fellow global citizens and their aspirations we must open up to using markets more as 'problem solving engines', in particular in the lower income countries that are being told to mirror the models that have been used in the West. This is a must read for everybody who senses that good legal infrastructure is a prerequisite for almost everything else."
-- Sam Muller, CEO HiiL Innovating Justice
"Read Rules for a Flat World -- it is your future. Hadfield is our Thomas Paine, illuminating the imbalances that have led to the emerging revolution in law. Brilliantly researched, sweeping in scope, Rules for a Flat World not only exposes the factors behind the "quiet crisis" but lays out a plan for correcting it."
-- Eddie Hartman, Founder and Chief Product Officer, LegalZoom
"This book is a must read for anyone who believes the legal system can be improved or who wants better results from legal services spending. From an insightful, engaging, and charming exploration of the history of how we came to have our current legal system, to careful analogies to the transformation other industries have experienced in the digital age, to a set of prescriptions for change in the legal system to grow the global economy, Gillian Hadfield never disappoints. I never expected that I would say about a book on the legal system, "I couldn't put it down.""
-- Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President and General Counsel Cisco Systems
"Here in Silicon Valley we pride ourselves on producing radical technological innovations paying but little attention to the messy but critical legal and social issues that require equally radical innovation in our legal systems. In this engrossing book, Hadfield takes us from Athens to modern times to help set the stage for dealing with the kinds of legal complexities we are now starting to encounter, such as autonomous vehicles governed by machine learning algorithms or cloud computing that crosses so many international boundaries that governance issues become almost unfathomable. A fascinating book for fascinating times."
-- John Seely Brown, former Chief Scientist Xerox and Director Xerox PARC and co-author of The Social Life of Information and The Pragmatic Imagination
"A must read if you have ever wondered why law is like it is. Should be compulsory reading for every law student, legal academic, practicing lawyer and regulator. Read it and be entertained, educated, enlightened and inspired to reimagine law as the platform for justice and economic development that this book so skillfully describes."
-- Rosemary Martin, General Counsel Vodafone Group Plc
"In Rules for a Flat World, Hadfield invites us to debate the basic function of law and whether the legal infrastructure we have today is enabling law to effectively play that role in our fast changing world. This debate is very germane in Africa still reeling under colonially inspired legal architecture far removed from the daily life of the people."
-- Innocent Chukwuma, Regional Director, West Africa, Ford Foundation
"Hadfield takes the reader on an exhilarating journey toward her remarkable destination of markets for law and regulation, illuminating waypoints like Silicon Valley, Zimbabwe, and ancient Athens with insights from economics, history, political science, and law."
-- Paul Brest, former Dean Stanford Law School and former President William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
"Rules for a Flat World brings crucial new insights to longstanding problems. Gillian Hadfield, a leading economist and legal scholar, offers an original and compelling account of how to reconstruct the regulatory structures necessary for a complex global economy. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned with fostering innovative and cost- effective legal institutions."
-- Deborah L. Rhode, Professor Stanford Law School and Director Center on the Legal Profession and Program in Law and Social Entrepreneurship
About the Author
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.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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The point of Part I is that "law" is a way in which governments provide, among other things, the mundane rules to support economic life - giving individuals and firms the ability to protect property, get compensated for work and investments, hold sellers of goods and services accountable for the standards of quality they advertised, allow reasonable access to credit and insurance, etc. Importantly, there is a chicken-and-egg effect: without such legal infrastructure in place, it is difficult to generate the wealth required to sustain a strong and responsible government in the first place. The problem is that as economic activity evolves, governments have fallen behind in continuing to create usable legal infrastructure subject to politically accountable oversight.
Part II explains how the provision of legal services in the United States became a "closed loop" that, by its fundamental structure, now stifles the necessary innovation and risk taking which characterizes improvements in other areas of society and the economy. She covers court oversight of legal services despite courts having woefully inadequate resources, the protectionist ways in which legal ethical rules prevent collaboration between lawyers and technology providers, etc. Hadfield's basic narrative is that the American Bar Association during the industrial age managed to vest lawyers and courts alone with the power to regulate how legal services are provided, and now we need to unbundle that structure because it can no longer address fundamental problems such as improper pricing, too much complexity and lack of fairness. Her proposed course out of this current quandary is market driven, because markets are an essential tool for innovation. Despite this free market creed, she nevertheless highlights the imperative of governments to ensure that systems are politically accountable.
Currently, the legal service industry lacks diversity of thought, lack of appropriate feedback for the service providers, and lack of risk-taking opportunity. Which leads to her great question: "WHERE ARE THE GARAGE GUYS IN LAW"?? Answer: nowhere, because of the structural limitations that she ably describes. (Every "legal tech" entrepreneur should at least read this section of her book, to grasp the institutional rigidity of the legal profession that they're up against.)
Part III is called Global Legal Innovation. It seems to meld access to justice issues, insofar as she talks a lot about lack of legal rights and services for people socioeconomically at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP), with a lot of discussion of cross-border and international defining of rights in a globalized world.
Her conclusion includes prescriptions about what needs to change:
(1) Change the conversation - so that building an appropriate legal infrastructure for the 21st century rises in priority to other big issues such as climate change and disease eradication;
(2) DON'T LEAVE IT TO THE LAWYERS - because their closed loop (of standard education, group-think, lack of external feedback, etc.) makes them now uniquely unhelpful in leading necessary change;
(3) Change the rules - which essentially means that legal policy is the same as economic policy;
(4) Catalyze and fund research on these topics, rather than focus on the navel-gazing and self-referential "professional" topics studied by most law schools;
(5) Invest in legal Innovation - for example we need things like tech-driven solutions for specific legal services, new tech-driven regulatory systems provided by third party service providers, and tech-driven legal infrastructure generally.
Overall this is an impressive book. It attempts to bring together the very disparate yet necessary lines of thinking into one comprehensive look at how we might rethink the making of laws and rules. It also explores the strands of thought needed in order to rethink the services being offered to allow individuals and firms benefit from those rules.