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Role of law in business and society (Academy of Legal Studies in Business) 

Strategic Plan of Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB):

A comprehensive plan with respect to legal studies has been promulgated by the Academy of Legal Studies in Business (ALSB), an organization that traces its beginnings to 1924. In its strategic plan it stresses, at the outset, as core values that "[l]aw and ethical behavior are foundational to civilized society" and that "[l]egal studies, an inclusive term that encompasses the diverse ways that law and ethics shape the global environment of business, is an integral part of business education and informs effective and responsible business decisions and managerial behavior.SeeALSB Strategic Plan(May 22, 2012), at, or by clicking here.  See also "curriculum vitae" at "Other Professional Organizations" on Navigation Bar.

Its strategic statement emphasizes that "[a]n essential function of the Academy is to foster a deeper understanding of the role of law and ethical behavior in business and in society." Id. It adds that the "Academy will advance the discipline of legal studies by enhancing understanding of the importance of legal studies to the development of business leaders and to the teaching and practice of accounting, finance, marketing, management, and other business functions." Id

It will, among other actions, "[p]romote law and legal studies courses in the business curriculum" and "[e]ncourage articles and publicity on the importance of law and ethics to businesses and the business curriculum." Id.  For more information on the Academy's strategic plan at, click hereSee also, Daniel J. Herron, History of the ALSB, Academy of Legal Studies in Business (July 2002), or click here.  For more information on the ALSB, click here.

Commentary: Gaining a deeper understanding of the role of law and ethicical behavior in business and in society

In acquiring a
deeper understanding of the role of law and ethical behavior in business and in society, we gain an increased awareness of the importance of law and ethical behavior in business and in society.  See "Business law importance" on Navigation Bar.

Re business:

1. Ancient law systems:  [excerpts forthcoming]

2. Earliest philosophers/poets:[excerpts forthcoming]

3. Middle ages:  [excerpts forthcoming]

4. Recent centuries:   [excerpts forthcoming]

5.  Jurists; legal scholars:  [excerpts forthcoming]

Roscoe Pound:  See, e.g., Roscoe Pound, The Spirit of the Common Law 11 (1921) (noting that “just as. . . . an intimate connection between law and politics” exists, so does an “intimate relation between law and economics.”); Roscoe Pound, Interpretations of Legal History 111-112 (1923 (reprinted 1967)) (noting that though U.S. constitution guarantees interstate commerce, when a corporation “meant state-granted monopoly” the law was interpreted that “one state could not thrust its monopolies upon another.”).  Id.  (noting that if the business is conducted as a partnership, the partnership law was “not determined by the needs of business.”).

Machen[cite forthcoming]"do incorporation laws allow suficient freedom to commercial enterprise?"

F. H. Lawson:  F. H. Lawson, A Common Lawyer Looks at the Civil Law 199 (1953) (noting that the Civil Law’s resistance to the trust “varies from country to country.”).  Id. at 199 (noting that “the trust has been used to create gigantic and oppressive monopolies,” has “become synonymous with capitalism,” yet the “trust device is not by any means indispensable for large scale [sic] business organization or the establishment of a monopoly.”).  Id. at 116-117 (noting that for “bargains calling for reciprocal performances” the “sale, hire, partnership, and mandate” were the contracts used; these contracts were explained on “economic or business, or as we may now say, on functional grounds.” Id.  (quoting Text-Book of Roman Law 413, 518 (2d ed,) to note that for this “small but commercially important group of contracts the principle was accepted that mere consent, however evidenced, should suffice,” the real test being “commercial importance.”).

Id. (quoting Sir Henry Maine, Ancient Law 345 (Pollock’s ed.) to note that the “larger part of the collective existence of every community is consumed in transactions of buying and selling, of letting and hiring, of alliances between men for purposes, of delegation of business from one man to another,” which undoubtedly is a factor that has “led the Romans, as it has led most societies, to relieve these transactions from technical incumbrance, to abstain as much as possible from clogging the most efficient springs of social movement.”).

Barry Nicholas:  See, e.g., Barry Nicholas, An Introduction to Roman Law 171 (1962) noting that the consensual contracts – sale, hire, partnership, and mandate -- arose by mere agreement without needing any formal act (such as delivery). Bona fides was the important element.  Hire embraced both contracts of employment and leases of land. (at 182). Partnership (societas) was any agreement for joint activity.  Roman Law did not have a concept of the corporation. (at 185). Mandate was used when a person agreed to perform a service for, at the request of, another. (at187).  These contracts (e.g., sale and hire) were an “adaptation of the law to the commercial needs of a vast empire.” (at162).

John Henry Merryman:  See, e.g., John Henry Merryman, The Civil Law Tradition 14 (1969) (noting that  the “needs of commerce and the interests of merchants” were the “main sources of the law” rather than Justinian’s Institutes or of the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church.  Id. at 154 (“The commercial law began as a group of customary practices created by pragmatic merchants to meet their own needs.”). Id. at 107-108.  “The commercial law continues to be the object of a separate commercial code in most civil law nations” but this trend is passing.  For more information, click here.

6. Civil law: [excerpts forthcoming] 

7. Mythology/philosophy:    [excerpts forthcoming]
8. Generally:   See, e.g., Paul H. Rubin, Law and Economics, Library of Economics and Liberty, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (2008),  (“Law and economics,” also known as the economic analysis of law, differs from other forms of legal analysis in two main ways. First, the theoretical analysis focuses on efficiency. In simple terms, a legal situation is said to be efficient if a right is given to the party who would be willing to pay the most for it.  [L]aw and economics scholars support arguments based on two distinct theories of legal efficiency. The positive theory of legal efficiency states that the common law (judge-made law, the main body of law in England and its former colonies, including the United States) is efficient, while the normative theory is that the law should be efficient.  [T]hat the two theories remain separate [is important].  Most economists accept both.”).

Re society:

1. Ancient law systems:

Possible sources to gaining a deeper understanding of the role of law and ethical behavior in business and in society are thevarious ancient law systems.

Cuneiform law:  See, e.g., Encyclopædia Britannica, cuneiform law (2013), (cuneiform law, the body of laws revealed by documents written in cuneiform, a system of writing invented by the ancient Sumerians and used in the Middle East in the last three millennia B.C. It includes the laws of the majority of the inhabitants of the ancient Middle East—especially the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Elamites, Hurrians, Kassites, and Hittites—who, despite many ethnic differences, were in contact with each other and developed similar civilizations. In certain periods this cultural community was reinforced by the diffusion of Akkadian, a diplomatic and scholastic language written in cuneiform. Thus, it is not arbitrary to classify the laws of these civilizations as “cuneiform”; indeed, it is a scientific necessity, because no other term covers all and only these laws. “Mesopotamian law,” for example, captures only part of the range of laws involved, and the notion of “ancient Middle Eastern law” is too vast, for it also includes both Judaic law and Egyptian law, which were separate developments (though some scholars see a relationship between biblical law and cuneiform law).  Id. (noting that only some of the major extant laws or codes are illustrated here, that the "various collections of cuneiform laws developed by the several nations and kingdoms have certain features in common.").  Id[excerpts forthcoming]   

Code of Lipit–Ishtar: [excerpts forthcoming] 

Code of Hammurabi:  [excerpts forthcoming] (“Although earlier Babylonian codes are known, unquestionably the most perfect monument of Babylonian law is the Code of Hammurabi (c. 1758 B.C.).”). Id. (“Like some other Middle Eastern codes, the Code of Hammurabi deals consecutively with penal law, the law of persons, family law, and price lists. It differs from earlier codes, as well as from the earliest laws of Greece and Rome, with regard to the relative importance of laws concerning property and other economic matters. Indeed, Babylonian society of the 1st dynasty was, in terms of its individualism, a wealth of private property, and development of commercial exchange, far more “modern” than Roman society of the early republic.”).  Id. (The “Code of Hammurabi, the most complete and perfect extant collection of Babylonian laws," was developed during the reign of Hammurabi (1792–1750 B.C.). "It consists of his legal decisions that were collected toward the end of his reign." It consists of case laws on "economic provisions (prices, tariffs, trade, and commerce), family law (marriage and divorce), as well as criminal law (assault, theft) and civil law (slavery, debt)"). Id. (“The laws of Assyria, though created later than the Babylonian laws, summon up the image of a less-developed society. The existing tablets, dating from the 15th to the 13th century B.C. (before the rise of the Assyrian empire), deal with personal property, landed property, and women and families. The laws reflect a society that was patriarchal and rather strict.”).  Id. (“The Hittite Law Code, dating from about the 14th century B.C., reflects the Hittite’s closed rural economy and feudal aristocracy. Hittite penal laws, though less severe than those in Assyria, are noteworthy for the very heavy pecuniary compensations they imposed.”).

See also, e.g., Charles F. Horne, The Code of Hammurabi: Introduction (1915),    (“Yet even with this earliest set of laws, as with most things Babylonian, we find ourselves dealing with the end of things rather than the beginnings. Hammurabi's code was not really the earliest. The preceding sets of laws have disappeared, but we have found several traces of them, and Hammurabi's own code clearly implies their existence. He is but reorganizing a legal system long established.”); Claude Hermann Walter Johns,  Babylonian Law--The Code of Hammurabi (from Eleventh Edition, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1910-1911),  ([edit further]  “In commercial matters, payment in kind was still common, though the contracts usually stipulate for cash, naming the standard expected.” (Emphasis added.)).  Id. (“The Code enacted, however, that a debtor must be allowed to pay in produce according to statutory scale.  If a debtor had neither money nor crop, the creditor must not refuse goods.”).  Id. (“Debt was secured on the person of the debtor. Distraint [seizure] on a debtor's corn was forbidden by the Code.”).  Id. (“The debtor could also pledge his property,” and in contracts the debtor “often pledged a field house or crop.”).  Id. (“Personal guarantees were often given that the debtor would repay or the guarantor become liable himself.”).  Id. (“Trade was very extensive.  A common way of doing business was for a merchant to entrust goods or money to a travelling agent, who sought a market for his goods.”).

Stanley Arthur Cook, The Laws of Moses and the Code of Ḫammurabi (1903). (Forthcoming).

Judaic law:  [excerpts forthcoming] Hebraic law, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2013 (June 20, 2013);  “Hebraic law, body of ancient Hebrew law codes found in various places in the Old Testament and similar to earlier law codes of ancient Middle Eastern monarchs—such as the Code of Hammurabi, an 18th–17th-century-bc Babylonian king, and the Code of Lipit-Ishtar, a 20th-century-bc king of the Mesopotamian city of Eshnunna. The codes of both Hammurabi and Lipit-Ishtar are described in their prologues as imparted by a deity so that the monarchs might establish justice in their lands. Such law codes thus had the authority of divine command.

The laws of the Hebrews were conceived in the same manner. Two types of law are noted in the Hebrew law codes: (1) casuistic, or case, law, which contains a conditional statement and a type of punishment to be meted out; and (2) apodictic law, i.e., regulations in the form of divine commands (e.g., the Ten Commandments.”

Egyptian law:  [excerpts forthcoming] 

Sharīʿah: Noel James Coulson, Sharīʿah, Encyclopædia Britannica (2013), “In classical form the Sharīʿah differs from Western systems of law in two principal respects. In the first place the scope of the Sharīʿah is much wider, since it regulates an individual’s relationship not only with one’s neighbours and with the state, which is the limit of most other legal systems, but also with God and with one’s own conscience.”  Id.  “The second major distinction between the Sharīʿah and Western legal systems is the result of the Islamic concept of law as the expression of the divine will.”

Roman law: [excerpts forthcoming]  The Roman law is another excellent source.  See, e.g., Roman Legal Tradition and the Compilation of Justinian, The Regents of the University of California, The Robbins Religious and Civil Law Collection, School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California at Berkeley (2013) [established as 2013 from (“The 2012-2013 Robbins Collection Lecture in Jewish Law and Thought, co-sponsored with Berkeley Law's Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy, and Society, will take place on Monday, November 26, 2012.”)],  (“Long before the Roman Republic was established in 509 BCE, the early Romans lived by laws developed through centuries of custom. This customary law (ius, in Latin) was handed down through generations and was considered by the Romans to be an inherited aspect of their society as it had evolved from its earliest days. Integral to the notion that this customary law was part of the fabric of early Roman culture was the fact that this law only applied to Roman citizens and was thus ius civile, or civil law.”  (Emphasis added.)).

Id. (“As these areas of law became more complex in tandem with the society that they governed, Roman rulers found themselves in need of a larger group of legal authorities to give order to the system of legal formulas and decisions. By the second half of the third century BCE, a new professional group of specialists trained in law, the jurists, emerged to meet this demand. The jurists did not participate in administering the law, but rather focused on interpreting and generating formal opinions on the law, as the pontiffs had done in earlier days. It was the work and scholarly writings of generations of great jurists that elevated Roman law to its apex during the first two and a half centuries CE, which is referred to as the classical period of Roman law.”).

See also, Barry Nicholas, An Introduction to Roman Law (1962)

R. W. Lee:  R. W. Lee, The Elements of Roman Law (4th ed. 1956 (3rd impression)) ("Roman Law is an introduction to the study of the Science of Law, or, as we call it, Jurisprudence.").

Chinese law:  See, e.g., William P. Alford, Chinese law, Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica (June 26, 2013),

Law in imperial China:  Recent archaeological work suggests that law in China antedates the life and thought of the seminal thinker Kongfuzi (also spelled Kong Fuzi, “Grand Master Kong”), or, as he is known in the West by his Latinized name, Confucius (551–479 bce). Yet

Confucianism—the thought of Confucius as transcribed by his disciples and elaborated over the centuries—is central to an understanding of pre-20th-century Chinese law. Confucianism held that the “five relationships”—those between ruler and subject, husband and wife, father and son, elder brother and younger brother, and friend and friend—are the foundation of a well-ordered society. Confucians stressed that each individual should cultivate his inner virtue (de) and demonstrate filial piety (xiao), which enable him to maintain and strengthen these relationships and to properly fulfill the responsibilities that go with them. In the words attributed to Confucius in the collection of sayings known as Lunyu in Chinese and as the Analects in English.  If the people be led by edicts…they will try to avoid punishment, but have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue…they will have a sense of shame and moreover will become good.

Even as the Confucians envisioned the ideal society as one that emphasizes the desirability of cultivating virtue, they understood that some people are not influenced by moral suasion. Confucius himself, in the Lunyu, saw a role for law (and not just in the form of punishment), and as prominent an early disciple as Xunzi (300–230 bce) argued that society needs law as well as morality but that the latter is more crucial than the former.

Challenges of the late 20th and early 21st centuries: However it may continue to develop, Chinese law has clearly entered a new phase of consequence, both for China and for the broader world dealing with China. Even as scholars reconstruct a much richer legal history than had typically been assumed to exist, law and legal institutions, whether fully effective or not, are today being accorded unprecedented attention in Chinese society.


Indian law:   See, e.g., "Indian law." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 26 Jun. 2013. <>.

Indian law thus draws on a number of sources. The Hindu law system began with the Vedas and contemporary indigenous customs (i.e., not Indo-European) 3,000 years ago. Slowly it evolved through blending, comparison, and analysis. After the Arab invasions in the 8th century ce, Islamic law was introduced in some areas, particularly in the north. The English common law is the residual law in the high courts of Bombay (now Mumbai), Calcutta (now Kolkata), and Madras (now Chennai); and, at times with the aid of relevant British statutes, it is the residual law also in all other jurisdictions representing the old East India Company’s courts, in which, since 1781, “justice, equity and good conscience” have supplied the rule of law when no Indian statute or rule of personal law (e.g., Hindu law) covered the point.

Generally speaking, Hindu law is the personal law applying to the great majority of the population and constituting the main juridical product of Indian civilization. The word Hindu does not imply a strict religious orthodoxy and is more ethnic than creedal in its emphasis. Nevertheless, since independence India has aimed at abolishing the personal laws in favour of a civil code (constitution, article 44), which would unify, as far as practicable, the diverse Hindu schools and customs applicable to the various communities. Until 1955–56 Hindus were entitled to claim exemption from the personal law if a custom could be proved of sufficient certainty, continuity, and age and was not contrary to public policy. Very little scope is now allowed to custom.

Indian criminal law, on the other hand, has been little changed since the Indian Penal Code was enacted in 1861. Thomas Babington Macaulay’s original draft of that code, which remains its nucleus, was not based on the contemporary English law alone, and many of the definitions and distinctions are unknown to English law, while later developments in English law are not represented. Yet Indian courts frequently consult English decisions in order to construe sections of the code. In spite of the fact that the wording of the code, when strictly construed, enables many wrongdoers to escape, India has modified it in only marginal respects. This is remarkable in view of the extreme rarity of the code’s coincidence with the criminal laws in force in India prior to 1861. The Criminal Procedure Code (1898), by contrast, is a true Anglo-Indian amalgam and has been amended further to suit peculiarly Indian conditions and the climate of opinion.


Japanese law:  See, e.g., "Japanese Civil Code." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica,  June 26,. 2013.  Japanese Civil Code, Japanese Mimpō,  body of private law adopted in 1896 that, with post-World War II modifications, remains in effect in present-day Japan. The code was the result of various movements for modernization following the Meiji Restoration of 1868. A legal code was required that would fill the needs of the new free-enterprise system that predominated with the dissolution of feudal landholdings. At the same time, the Japanese desired to present themselves to the world as a more modern nation in hope of renegotiating certain unfavourably balanced and often even humiliating treaties with Western nations. The resulting code was modeled on the first draft of the German Civil Code, itself very Roman in structure and substance.

The code is divided into five books. Those on family and succession retain certain vestiges of the old patriarchal family system that was the basis of Japanese feudalism. It was in these sections that most of the postwar revisions were made. At that time it was considered no longer necessary or desirable to pay such homage to the past, and the sections dealing with family law and succession were brought closer to European civil law.

The writing of the code provoked considerable disagreement among segments of the Japanese legal and commercial communities, largely over how much Japanese custom should be included. There was also disagreement as to whether the code should be based on the French or the English system of law. This disagreement arose from the rather strange position of both those systems in Japanese law schools and courts. After the restoration, law schools had been set up that gave courses in both English and French law. Because of the way the courses and examinations were constructed, it was possible to become a lawyer or judge by knowing only one system of law. In their courtrooms, some judges administered only French law and others only English.

After the first Japanese Civil Code had been adopted in 1890, with very little debate, a storm of criticism arose from the legal community. This code had been the work of a French jurist, Gustave-Emil Boissonade, who also had written the criminal and penal codes of 1882. Opponents argued that, if the civil code were to be based upon French law, then Japanese lawyers trained in the French system would have an advantage over those trained in the English. Further, the proposed commercial code was based on German laws, and there were many lawyers and persons engaged in commerce who felt there would be confusion if the two codes were based upon different laws.

The code was made into a political issue by those wishing to preserve the old feudalism, who charged that the old customs, particularly the patriarchal family system, had been ignored in the individualistic code of Boissonade. A revised code was produced, based on the first draft of the German Civil Code but giving considerable weight to the old customs, particularly in family and inheritance law. The final German-based code was very similar in most respects to that of Boissonade, both including strong protection for landed property. The code was promulgated in 1896 and went into effect in 1898.


Ancient Rome:   See, e.g.,  Religious records and the texts of some laws and treaties provided a bare outline of major events. Ancient historians fleshed out this meagre factual material with both native and Greek folklore.

Law and history:  Roman law, though traditional in content, was also deeply influenced by Greek dialectic. For centuries the law had been passed down orally by pontifical priests. It emerged as an intellectual discipline only in the late republic, when men who saw themselves as legal specialists began to write treatises aimed at organizing existing law into a system, defining principles and concepts, and then applying those principles systematically. Quintus Mucius Scaevola was a pivotal figure: a pontifex in the traditional role, he published the first systematic legal treatise, De iure civili, in the 80s. Cicero credited his contemporary Servius Sulpicius Rufus with being the jurist who transformed law into a discipline (ars).

The decisive events of the late republic stimulated the writing of history. The first extant historical works in Latin (rather than in Greek) date from this period: Sallust’s Bellum Iugurtinum (Iugurthine War) and Bellum Catilinae (Catilinarian Conspiracy) and Caesar’s memoirs about his Gallic and civil wars. The rapid changes also prompted antiquarian studies as Roman senators looked back to archaic institutions and religious rituals of the distant past to legitimize or criticize the present. Varro’s 41 books (now lost) on Antiquitates terum humanarum et divinarum (“Antiquities of things human and divine”) were influential in establishing the traditions of early Rome for future generations.


Russia:  See, e.g.,  Once Vladimir had adopted Christianity in 988, his rule was supported by the propagation of Byzantine notions of imperial authority. The political traditions and conditions of Rus, however, required that the actual workings of the political system and some of its style be derived from other sources. This system served well for a century after it was given final form by Vladimir and was revived by Monomakh (Vladimir II, ruled 1113–25), but it could not survive the decline of Kiev’s importance.

Individual Rurikid princes maintained military retinues led by boyars. The princes and boyars drew their most significant revenues from the tribute or taxes collected annually in kind from territories under their control and disposed of in the export trade. The bulk of the population, apparently free peasants living in traditional agricultural communes, had little other connection with the dynasty and its trading cities.

Little is known of law in this period; it may be assumed that juridical institutions had not developed on a broad scale. The earliest law code (1016), called the “Russian Law,” was one of the “Barbarian” law codes common throughout Germanic Europe. It dealt primarily with princely law—that is, with the fines to be imposed by the prince or his representative in the case of specified offenses.

Some scholars have held that, since land was in the hands of the boyar class, who exploited the labour of slaves and peasants, Kievan society should be termed feudal. The meagre sources indicate, however, that Kiev experienced nothing like the complex and highly regulated legal and economic relationships associated with feudalism in western Europe. Kiev’s political system existed primarily for and by international trade in forest products and depended on a money economy in which the bulk of the population scarcely participated. The subsistence agriculture of the forest regions was not the source of Kiev’s wealth, nor was it the matrix within which law and politics and history were made.

Formal culture came to Rus, along with Christianity, from the multinational Byzantine synthesis, primarily through South Slavic intermediaries. A native culture, expressed in a now-lost pagan ritual folklore and traditions in the arts and crafts, existed before the Kievan period and then persisted alongside the formal culture, but its influence on the latter is conjectural.

No single one of the regional (or, later, national) cultures, perhaps least of all that of Muscovy, can be called the heir of Kiev, although all shared the inheritance. The strands of continuity were everywhere strained, if not broken, in the period after Kiev’s decline. But “Golden Kiev” was always present, in lore and bookish tradition, as a source of emulation and renascence.


Spain:  See, e.g.,

The constitution declares that Spain is a constitutional monarchy and advocates the essential values of freedom, justice, equality, and political pluralism. It also provides for the separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

Scandinavian law:  See, e.g., Finn Hiorthøy, Scandinavian law, Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online (June 26, 2013)

Before the Scandinavian states emerged as unified kingdoms in the 9th century, the several districts and provinces were virtually independent administratively and legally. Although social organization in the main was the same, and legal developments followed similar lines, there came into existence a number of separate legal systems, or “laws.” Originally there were no written laws; the legal system consisted of customary law that was conserved, developed, and vindicated by the people themselves at the so-called things, or popular meetings of all free men. Between the 11th and 13th centuries the provincial customary laws were recorded in writing (invariably in the vernacular). These writings were most often private compilations but were occasionally instructions from the king. The best known laws of this period are the Gulathing’s law (written in the 11th century, Norwegian); the law of Jutland (1241, Danish); and the laws of Uppland (1296) and Götaland (early 13th century), both Swedish. Other Scandinavian communities and states followed suit.

The early laws or codes did not have the character of civil codes as they are understood today. In addition to the subjects of private law (matrimony, inheritance, property, and contract), they contained constitutional and administrative law, criminal law, and laws of procedure. Ecclesiastical law was usually excluded and treated separately. In the main, the codes represented collections of customary law; influences from abroad were negligible except for some traces of canon law. Whereas the provincial laws, in common with other early Germanic laws, had tolerated and regulated blood feuds (setting up detailed tariffs for manslaughter and offenses against the body), the codes are, in several respects, more progressive. Thus, King Magnus’ Swedish code (1350) abolished private vengeance, declaring that the king’s officials should initiate criminal proceedings and provide for the punishment of wrongdoers. Furthermore, presumably under the influence of Christianity, legal provisions were introduced to assist paupers and the helpless. Rules concerning landed property (e.g., the right of redemption belonging to the family) were markedly original.

[Also review/edit the following:]

Albert T. Clay, Earliest Laws Known, 12 Ill. L. R. 629 (1917-1918) (Forthcoming.)

Chilperic Edwards, World's Earliest Laws (2003). (Forthcoming.)

Observation:  That even these ancient societies had laws, of varying sophistication and scope, proves that law has played an important role in society and in business from the earliest known history of civilization.

2. Earliest philosophers/poets: 

Other possible sources in gaining some insight into understanding the role of law and ethical behavior in business and  in society is to analyze the earliest writing of philosophers on these subjects.

Plato:   Plato (about 428 B,C. - 348 B.C.) wrote about his observations of the market.   See, e.g.,  [Under construction--edit: Plato, Laws, XI (2008 (translated by Benjamin Jowett, originally published 1892)), available at (noting that “dealings between man and man require to be suitably regulated" and that under the golden rule "The principle of them is very simple:-Thou shalt not, if thou canst help, touch that which is mine, or remove the least thing which belongs to me without my consent; and may I be of a sound mind, and do to others as I would that they should do to me.”).

Cf., e.g., Plato, The Collected Dialogues (1961, ninth printing 1978 (edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns)) (in prefatory notes to Book XI the golden rule is described as “May I do to others as I would that they should do to me”).  Id. at Laws, Book XI, 913a (the golden rule is here described as “I would have no one touch my property, if I can help it, or disturb it in the slightest way without  some kind of consent on my part: if I am a man of sense, I must treat  the property of others in the same way.”). 

The golden rule -- which might be arguably the most basic rule of law as well as of ethics -- can thus be seen as having an applicable role in law and ethical behavior in business and in society. [check authorities, if any]

Plato also discusses various abuses that he perceives exist by various callings in the market. His statements about the law in relation to various business dealings are primarily admonishments on misbehavior in the market.  See, e.g., Plato, The Collected Dialogues (1961, ninth printing 1978 (edited by Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns)  at Laws, Book XI, 916d [edit further] (noting that "he that exchanges against coin other coin or any article whatsoever, animate or inanimate, is expected by the law in all cases to give genuine value and demand the same"); 917b ("a man who practices an imposition on the market in violation of all the laws of the commissioners of markets); 917d (a citizen “that sells any article whatsoever in the market shall in no case put two prices on his wares” or engage in “proffering of wares offered for sale,” and a citizen  “making light of the matter” is “liable to censure as a traitor to the law”); 918c (why is a calling is of no good credit or repute or makes it unpopular , we must look into the question if we are to provide a partial remedy – a total cure would be beyond us-- by our legislation); 919b (noting “malpractices are found in all these callings” that have “merited ill repute” constituting a “malady in them all for which law must find a specific.”); 920b (“still more careful guard must be kept over those who have a marked tendency predisposed to vice”); 920d (In the case of breach of contract -- save for contracts to do what is prohibited by statute of by executive decree of the assembly, a contract extorted by unlawful constraint, or  a contract unintentionally frustrated by unforeseen circumstances – an action for nonfulfillment of contract before the tribal courts, unless settlement before arbitrators or a court of the local neighbors.”  (Emphases added.)

G.C. Field, The Philosophy of Plato (1949 (reprint 1961))  [excerpts forthcoming]

[in addition to Hamilton and Cairnes, Plato, see also Plato, The Republic (1935 (reprint 1972 by Penguin Books Ltd.))
[excerpts forthcoming from Introduction and via Table of Contents not available in Hamilton's Plato]

A.E. Taylor, The Mind of Plato (1922 (Ann Arbor paperback 1960))

Aristotle:  See also, e.g., The Basic Works of Aristotle, Politics 1202 (1941, 28th printing, edited by Richard McKeon (Oxford translation 1931)) (noting, inter alia, that "We thus arrive at law; for an order of succession implies law. And the rule of law, it is argued, is  preferable to that  of any individual," that the "law is reason unaffected by desire," and that " in seeking for justice men seek the mean or neutral."). [forthcoming: golden mean]  (Emphasis added.)]

Cf., e.g., The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Aristotle (editor Ted Honderich 1995) (noting that Aristotle thought in his Politics that "democracy is preferable to oligarchy because it is more stable and its judgements are likely to be wiser since individuals when grouped together have more wisdom than a few."). Id. His Ethics "aims to give a reflective understanding of well-being or the good life for humans" and "develops a theory of virtue" that includes a "detailed  discussion of particular virtues involved in the good life." He sometimes apparently believes  that "self-sufficient contemplation (of truth) by an individual sage constitutes the ideal good life, but elsewhere man is represented as  a 'political animal' who needs friendship and other directed virtues (such as courage, generosity, and justice) if he is is to achieve human well-being. (emphasis added.).").  See also, e.g., The Oxford Classical Dictionary 116 (2nd ed. 1970 (edited by N.G.L. Hammond & H.H. Scullard)) (noting (¶10) that Aristotle's "mind has twowell-marked characteristics. One  is a sort of inspired common sense" that cause him "avoid extremes ia any direction."  Thus, in "ethics, he is neither a hedonist nor an ascetic; he recognizes in pleasure an element, though a secondary and consequential one, in the good life"in "politics he is neither an aristocrat nor a democrat; he advocates the rule of the middle class" and (¶11) that the "other leading characteristic of his mind is its tidiness and  love of order"  and "we owe to him, in the main, the classification of the sciences" dividing "them into the theoretical, which aim simply at knowledge, the practical, which aim at improving conduct,, and the productive, which aim at the production of things useful or beautiful."). Cf., e.g., The Canbridge Dictionary of Philosophy (1995) general editor Robert Audi)) (noting that the "Nicomachean Ethics and Poitics  are treatises in practical philosophy. Their aim is effective action in matters of conduct" and that Nicomachean Ethics was written, Aristotle reminds us, 'not in order to know  what virtue is, but in order to become good.' "   [Add comment re close relationship between ethics and politics. "the state as a natural entity among persons to serve a natural function" and "not merely, e.g., provision for the common defense or promotion of trade.  Rather, the state of the Politics also has eudaimonia as its goal, namely, fostering the complete and self sufficient lives of its citizens.").  See, e.g., Encyclopædia Britannica, eudaimonia(2013),  (forthcoming).

Cicero:  The Basic Works of Cicero x (1951 ed. Moses Hadas) (noting that “nothing was more important to Cicero than the maintenance of the established order.”). Id. at 3 (noting that in his On Moral Duties “Cicero’s main interest in philosophy was practical ethics.”).  Id. at 10 (Cicero states that honor “springs from” the following sources: “sagacity and the perception of the truth,  . . . respect for the rights of others, and the faithful observance of contracts,  . . . the greatness and strength of a lofty and invincible spirit, . . . in that order and measure in word and deed” that “constitute temperance and self-command.”). Id. at 15 (noting the “foundations of justice: do evil to no man; work for the common good.”),

Sophocles:  Sophocles, Antigone 452-455 (translated by George Theodoridis (2004),;   (“Nor do I believe that your decrees have the power to override those unwritten and immutable laws decreed by the gods. These are laws which were decreed neither yesterday nor today but from a time when no man saw their birth; they are eternal!”).

3. Middle ages:  [excerpts forthcoming]

Religion/canon law/Reformation:  The Encyclopedia of Religion 433 (ed. Vergilius Ferm (1945) (noting that “[m]any primitive peoples have not yet evolved law as distinct from custom” but adds that “[y]et such societies are not on that account characterized by anarchy and ungoverned violence.”). Id. at 434 (noting that “evolution of social organization created new problems in social control and enlarged the scope of the law.” Id. at 436 (“The effectiveness of the rules of law of a given society depends not only on the efficiency of the enforcement machinery but upon the degree of correspondence of the rules of law with the religious beliefs, the ethical convictions, and traditions and habits of those to whom they are addressed” and that “law cannot dispense with the emotional appeal of myths, symbols and ceremonies.”).  For more  information, click here.,or.r_qf.&fp=8d786327089c7a38&biw=1024&bih=722.

For more information on Vergilius Ferm, see, e.g., The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers 764 (print 2005, Oxford Reference 2010, online version 2012, editor John R. Shook), click here.

Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, Church and State 240 (consulting editor Wendy Doniger 1999) (noting that “Church and State” as a concept was that “religious and political powers in society are clearly distinct, though both claim the people’s loyalty.”), “Christians of the early generations acknowledged the state as the bearer of order” (240)).   Id. (noting that with the “fall of Rome in the 5th century CE,” the “Roman church came to be viewed as the only guarantor of order.”). Id. at 241 (noting that “when Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Romans in 800, Charlemagne then claimed for himself the right to appoint the bishops of the empire, who were more and more involved in political affairs.”  Feudalism of the church ensued with bishops “often were much more interested in the political tasks of their domain than the spiritual.”  Id. (“The 16th –century Reformation forced the church to focus on spiritual tasks and place Reformation law and the legal powers of church leadership in the hands of the princes.”).

The influence of ancient Rome, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Byzantine Empire covered a span of over 2500 years.  See, e.g., Ramsay MacMullen, ancient Rome, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, July 7, 2013, (“ancient Rome, the state centred on the city of Rome” during the “period from the founding of the city and the regal period, which began in 753 BC, through the events leading to the founding of the republic in 509 BC, the establishment of the empire in 27 BC, and the final eclipse of the Empire of the West in the 5th century AD.”); Roman Republic, Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. July 7, 2013,  (“Roman Republic, the ancient state that centred on the city of Rome, from the time of the events leading up to the founding of the republic in 509 BC, through the establishment of the Roman Empire in 27 BC.”); Roman Empire, Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. July 7, 2013, (“Roman Empire, the ancient empire, centred on the city of Rome, that was established in 27 BC following the demise of the Roman Republic and continuing to the final eclipse of the Empire of the West in the 5th century AD.”); Geoffrey Barraclough, Holy Roman Empire. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, July 7, 2013, (noting that the Holy Roman Empire was “ the varying complex of lands in western and central Europe ruled over first by Frankish and then by German kings for 10 centuries, from Charlemagne’s coronation in 800 until the renunciation of the imperial title in 1806.”); Donald MacGillivray Nicol & John L. Teall, Byzantine Empire, Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. July 7, 2013, (“Byzantine Empire, the eastern half of the Roman Empire, which survived for a thousand years after the western half had crumbled into various feudal kingdoms and which finally fell to Ottoman Turkish onslaughts in 1453.”).

The Reformation also occurred during the latter part of this period.   See, e.g., Reformation, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, July 7, 2013,

The impact of feudalism on the law was significant.  See, e.g., Elizabeth A.R. Brown, feudalism, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, July 7, 2013, (“feudalism, also called feudal system or feudality, historiographic construct designating the social, economic, and political conditions in western Europe during the early Middle Ages, the long stretch of time between the 5th and 12th centuries.”)   Id. (“the medieval “feudal system” was characterized by the absence of public authority and the exercise by local lords of administrative and judicial functions formerly (and later) performed by centralized governments; general disorder and endemic conflict; and the prevalence of bonds between lords and free dependents (vassals), which were forged by the lords’ bestowal of property called “fiefs” and by their reception of homage from the vassals. These bonds entailed the rendering of services by vassals to their lords (military obligations, counsel, financial support) and the lords’ obligation to protect and respect their vassals.”).

So too was the impact of the Reformation and the canon law on the law.  See, e.g., Peter J. Huizing, The Rev. Ladislas M. Orsy, S.J., The Rev. Ladislas M. Örsy, S.J., canon law, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, July 7, 2013. (“Canon law in the Western churches after 1054 developed without interruption until the Reformation of the 16th century. Though other churches of the Reformation rejected the canon law of the Roman Catholic church, the Church of England retained the concept of canon law and developed its own type, which has acceptance in the churches of the Anglican Communion.).

Id.  (“Canon law has had a long history of development throughout the Christian era. Not a static body of laws, it reflects social, political, economic, cultural, and ecclesiastical changes that have taken place in the past two millennia. During periods of social and cultural upheaval the church has not remained unaffected by its environment. Thus, canon law may be expected to be involved in the far-reaching changes that have come to be anticipated in the modern world.”).

The historical and cultural importance of canon law is noteworthy. Id. (“Canon law has functioned in different historical periods in the organization of the church’s liturgy, preaching, works of charity, and other activities through which Christianity was established and spread in the Mediterranean area and beyond. Canon law, moreover, had an essential role in the transmission of Greek and Roman jurisprudence and in the reception of Justinian law (Roman law as codified under the sponsorship of the Byzantine emperor Justinian in the 6th century) in Europe during the Middle Ages.”). Id. (Therefore, the “history of the Middle Ages, to the extent that they were dominated by ecclesiastical concerns, cannot be written without knowledge of the ecclesiastical institutions that were governed according to canon law. Medieval canon law also had a lasting influence on the law of the Protestant churches (emphasis added).”). Id. (“Numerous institutions and concepts of canon law have influenced the secular law and jurisprudence in lands influenced by Protestantism: e.g., marriage law, the law of obligations, the doctrine of modes of property acquisition, possession, wills, legal persons, the law of criminal procedure, and the law concerning proof or evidence.”).

Id. (“International law owes its very origin to canonists and theologians, and the modern idea of the state goes back to the ideas developed by medieval canonists regarding the constitution of the church. The history of the legal principles of the relation of sacerdotium to imperium—i.e., of ecclesiastical to secular authority or of church to state—is a central factor in European history (emphasis added)”).

4. Recent centuries:

Goethe:  Nicholas Boyle, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Encyclopædia Britannica (2013),  (noting that “he believed in the possibility, and necessity, of gradual and rational reform. But within the federal and feudal structure he thought established authority had an overriding right and duty to impose order, and he had little interest in procedures of representation or theories of the popular will. The creed was subtle, pragmatic, and benevolently paternalist.”  (Emphasis added.)).  “Goethe was greatly helped by his study of the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, which was completely transforming the German intellectual landscape and was in particular being vigorously furthered in the University of Jena. The openness to Kant in turn made it easier for Goethe to respond positively when in 1794 one of Kant’s most prominent disciples, the poet and dramatist Friedrich Schiller, who was then living in Jena, suggested that he and Goethe should collaborate on a new journal, Die Horen (The Horae), intended to give literature a voice in an age increasingly dominated by politics.”

Id. (“He was on friendly terms with the Romantic theorists August Wilhelm Schlegel and Friedrich Schlegel, with the Romantic artists Philipp Otto Runge and Caspar David Friedrich, and with the post-Kantian idealist philosophers Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, who all, thanks to him, taught philosophy at Jena.”).

Id. (“Goethe was a contemporary of thinkers—Kant, Herder, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt—who carried out an intellectual revolution that is at the basis of most modern thinking about religion, art, society, and thought itself. He knew most of these people well, furthered the careers of several of them, promoted many of their ideas, and expressed his reaction to them in his literary works. The age they helped to make was an age dominated by the idea of freedom, of individual self-determination, whether in the intellectual and moral sphere or in practical politics—the age both of German Idealism and of the American and French revolutions. If there is a single theme running through Goethe’s huge and varied literary output, it is his reflection on subjectivity—his showing how in ever-changing ways we make our own selves, the world we inhabit, and the meaning of our lives. Yet he also shows how, without leaving that self-made world, we collide all the time with the reality of things. Ultimately, Goethe believes, this reality is not alien or hostile to us, because, whatever it is, we—and our capacity for experience—ultimately derive from it too. Goethe therefore calls it Nature, that out of which we are born." (Emphasis added.)).

Kant: Otto Allen Bird, Immanuel Kant, Encyclopædia Britannica (2013),  (noting Kant's categorical imperative: “Act only on that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law. Lacking any insight into the moral realm, humans can only ask themselves whether what they are proposing to do has the formal character of law—the character, namely, of being the same for all persons similarly circumstanced.").Cf. Kant's categorical imperative with the golden rule.[excerpts forthcoming]. 

Cf.  “In deontological ethics an action is considered morally good because of some characteristic of the action itself, not because the product of the action is good. Deontological ethics holds that at least some acts are morally obligatory regardless of their consequences for human welfare. Descriptive of such ethics are such expressions as “Duty for duty’s sake,” “Virtue is its own reward,” and “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

Id. (“The first great philosopher to define deontological principles was Immanuel Kant, the 18th-century German founder of critical philosophy, whose ethics were much influenced by Christianity as well as by the Rationalism of the Enlightenment. Kant held that nothing is good without qualification except a good will, which is one that wills to act in accord with the moral law and out of respect for that law, rather than out of natural inclinations. He saw the moral law as a categorical imperative—i.e., an unconditional command—and believed that its content could be established by human reason alone. Reason begins with the principle “Act only on that maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” Kant’s critics, however, have questioned his view that all duties can be derived from this purely formal principle and have argued that, in his preoccupation with rational consistency, he neglected the concrete content of moral obligation.”). (Emphasis added.)

Hegel:  Friedrich Hegel  T. Malcolm Knox, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Encyclopædia Britannica (2013, that an individual must act in accord "not merely with law but also with his own conscientious convictions"  and that "the problem in the modern world is to construct a social and political order that satisfies the claims of both.").

Hume:[excerpts forthcoming]

Rousseau:[excerpts forthcoming]

Bentham:John P. Plamenatz & Brian Duignan, Jeremy Bentham, Encyclopædia Britannica (2013), (“The object of all legislation must be the “greatest happiness of the greatest number.’ ”). [excerpts forthcoming] 

John Stuart Mill:[excerpts forthcoming]  

Friedrich Nietzsche: See, e.g., Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra xi (Modern Library (date?), translated by Thomas Cannon)) (Elizabeth Forster-Nietzsche noting in Introduction that Nietczsche expressed ideal was that the "the object of mankind should lie in its highest individuals" or that "Mankind ought constantly to be striving to produce great men -- this and nothing else is its duty."Id. "The phrase the 'rearing of the Superman,' has very often been misunderstood.  By the word "rearing," in this case, is meant the act of modifying by means of new and higher values -- values which, as laws and guides of conduct and opinion, are now to rule over mankind.").  Id. ("Surpass, ye higher men, the petty virtues, the petty policy, the sand-grain considerateness, the ant-hill trumpery, the pitiable comfortableness, the "happiness of the greater number--!" (emphasis added)). [excerpts forthcoming]   

[et al.]  Other reasonable current philosophers: Bentham, Hume, Rousseau (social contract; moral inequality), Hegel,  et al.]

5. Other more recent sources:   

More recent sources may also provide a
deeper understanding of the role of law and ethical behavior in business and in society are thevarious ancient law systems.

a. Economists 

Adam Smith: See, e.g., Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759 (version published 2009 is of 6th edition that appeared in 1790), Part II, Section II, Chapter I, ¶ 5 [II.II.5].  Smith has analyzed justice and natural law in some detail. For example, he mentions that

“another virtue, of which the observance is not left to the freedom of our own wills, which may be extorted by force, and of which the violation exposes to resentment, and consequently to punishment. This virtue is justice: the violation of justice is injury: it does real and positive hurt to some particular persons, from motives which are naturally disapproved of. It is, therefore, the proper object of resentment, and of punishment, which is the natural consequence of resentment. As mankind go along with, and approve of the violence employed to avenge the hurt which is done by injustice, so they much more go along with, and approve of, that which is employed to prevent and beat off the injury, and to restrain the offender from hurting his neighbours. The person himself who meditates an injustice is sensible of this, and feels that force may, with the utmost propriety, be made use of, both by the person whom he is about to injure, and by others, either to obstruct the execution of his crime, or to punish him when he has executed it. And upon this is founded that remarkable distinction between justice and all the other social virtues, which has of late been particularly insisted upon by an author of very great and original genius, that we feel ourselves to be under a stricter obligation to act according to justice, than agreeably to friendship, charity, or generosity; that the practice of these last mentioned virtues seems to be left in some measure to our own choice, but that, somehow or other, we feel ourselves to be in a peculiar manner tied, bound, and obliged to the observation of justice.”  (Emphasis added.)   Id. at 96.

“When the sovereign commands what is merely indifferent, and what, antecedent to his orders, might have been omitted without any blame, it becomes not only blamable but punishable to disobey him. When he commands, therefore, what, antecedent to any such order, could not have been omitted without the greatest blame, it surely becomes much more punishable to be wanting in obedience. Of all the duties of a law-giver, however, this, perhaps, is that which it requires the greatest delicacy and reserve to execute with propriety and judgment. To neglect it altogether exposes the commonwealth to many gross disorders and shocking enormities, and to push it too far is destructive of all liberty, security, and justice.”  Id. at ¶ 8 (at 98) [II.II.8].

“As every man doth, so shall be done to him, and retaliation seems to be the great law which is dictated to us by Nature.” (Emphasis added.)  Id. at ¶ 10 (at 99) [II.II.10].

“The most sacred laws of justice, therefore, those whose violation seems to call loudest for vengeance and punishment, are the laws which guard the life and person of our neighbour; the next are those which guard his property and possessions; and last of all come those which guard what are called his personal rights, or what is due to him from the promises of others.” (Emphasis added.)   Id. at ¶ 12 (at 101-102) [II.II.12].

“Society, however, cannot subsist among those who are at all times ready to hurt and injure one another. The moment that injury begins, the moment that mutual resentment and animosity take place, all the bands of it are broke asunder, and the different members of which it consisted are, as it were, dissipated and scattered abroad by the violence and opposition of their discordant affections. If there is any society among robbers and murderers, they must at least, according to the trite observation, abstain from robbing and murdering one another. Beneficence, therefore, is less essential to the existence of society than justice. Society may subsist, though not in the most comfortable state, without beneficence; hut the prevalence of injustice must utterly destroy it.”  (Emphasis added.)  Id. at II.II.17  (at 104). 

Though Nature, therefore, exhorts mankind to acts of beneficence, by the pleasing consciousness of deserved reward, she has not thought it necessary to guard and enforce the practice of it by the terrors of merited punishment in case it should be neglected. It is the ornament which embellishes, not the foundation which supports the building, and which it was, therefore, sufficient to recommend, but by no means necessary to impose. Justice, on the contrary, is the main pillar that upholds the whole edifice. If it is removed, the great, the immense fabric of human society, that fabric which to raise and support seems in this world, if I may say so, to have been the peculiar and darling care of Nature, must in a moment crumble into atoms. In order to enforce the observation of justice, therefore, Nature has implanted in the human breast that consciousness of ill-desert, those terrors of merited punishment which attend upon its violation, as the great safe-guards of the association of mankind, to protect the weak, to curb the violent, and to chastise the guilty.”  (Emphasis added.)   Id. at II.II.18  (at 104-105).

 “When this maxim is thus proposed, in abstract and general terms, there is nobody who does not agree to it. Its self-evident justice is acknowledged by all the world, and there is not a dissenting voice among all mankind. Every body allows, that how different soever the accidental, the unintended and unforeseen consequences of different actions, yet, if the intentions or affections from which they arose were, on the one hand, equally proper and equally beneficent, or, on the other, equally improper and equally malevolent, the merit or demerit of the actions is still the same, and the agent is equally the suitable object either of gratitude or of resentment.” (Emphasis added.)  Id. at II.III.4  (at 112).

 “Actions, therefore, which either produce actual evil, or attempt to produce it, and thereby put us in the immediate fear of it, are by the Author of nature rendered the only proper and approved objects of human punishment and resentment. Sentiments, designs, affections, though it is from these that according to cool reason human actions derive their whole merit or demerit, are placed by the great Judge of hearts beyond the limits of every human jurisdiction, and are reserved for the cognizance of his own unerring tribunal. That necessary rule of justice, therefore, that men in this life are liable to punishment for their actions only.”  (Emphasis added.) Id. at II.III.25 (at 126). 

 “There is, however, one virtue of which the general rules determine with the greatest exactness every external action which it requires. This virtue is justice. The rules of justice are accurate in the highest degree, and admit of no exceptions or modifications, but such as may be ascertained as accurately as the rules themselves, and which generally, indeed, flow from the very same principles with them. If I owe a man ten pounds, justice requires that I should precisely pay him ten pounds, either at the time agreed upon, or when he demands it. What I ought to perform, how much I ought to perform, when and where I ought to perform it, the whole nature and circumstances of the action prescribed, are all of them precisely fixt and determined.”  (Emphasis added.) III.I.122 (at 202). 

“The rules of justice may be compared to the rules of grammar; the rules of the other virtues, to the rules which critics lay down for the attainment of what is sublime and elegant in composition. The one, are precise, accurate, and indispensable. The other, are loose, vague, and indeterminate, and present us rather with a general idea of the perfection we ought to aim at, than afford us any certain and infallible directions for acquiring it. A man may learn to write grammatically by rule, with the most absolute infallibility; and so, perhaps, he may be taught to act justly. But there are no rules whose observance will infallibly lead us to the attainment of elegance or sublimity in writing; though there are some which may help us, in some measure, to correct and ascertain the vague ideas which we might otherwise have entertained of those perfections. And there are no rules by the knowledge of which we can infallibly be taught to act upon all occasions with prudence, with just magnanimity, or proper beneficence: though there are some which may enable us to correct and ascertain, in several respects, the imperfect ideas which we might otherwise have entertained of those virtues.” Id. at III.I.123 (at 203).

  “In this consisted that complete virtue, that perfect propriety of conduct, which Plato, after some of the ancient Pythagoreans, denominated Justice.”  (Emphasis added.)  Id. at VII.II.13 (at 320). 

“The word, it is to be observed, which expresses justice in the Greek language, has several different meanings; and as the correspondent word in all other languages, so far as I know, has the same, there must be some natural affinity among those various significations. In one sense we are said to do justice to our neighbour when we abstain from doing him any positive harm, and do not directly hurt him, either in his person, or in his estate, or in his reputation. This is that justice which I have treated of above, the observance of which may be extorted by force, and the violation of which exposes to punishment. In another sense we are said not to do justice to our neighbour unless we conceive for him all that love, respect, and esteem, which his character, his situation, and his connexion with ourselves, render suitable and proper for us to feel, and unless we act accordingly. It is in this sense that we are said to do injustice to a man of merit who is connected with us, though we abstain from hurting him in every respect, if we do not exert ourselves to serve him and to place him in that situation in which the impartial spectator would be pleased to see him. The first sense of the word coincides with what Aristotle and the Schoolmen call commutative justice, and with what Grotius calls the justitia expletrix, which consists in abstaining from what is another's, and in doing voluntarily whatever we can with propriety be forced to do. The second sense of the word coincides with what some have called distributive justice, *11 and with the justitia attributrix of Grotius, which consists in proper beneficence, in the becoming use of what is our own, and in the applying it to those purposes either of charity or generosity, to which it is most suitable, in our situation, that it should be applied. In this sense justice comprehends all the social virtues.”  (Emphasis added.)  Id. at VII.II.14 (at 320).

 “The whole virtue of justice, therefore, the most important of all the virtues, is no more than discreet and prudent conduct with regard to our neighbours.”  (Emphasis added.)  Id. at VII.II.65 (at 350).

 “Every system of positive law may be regarded as a more or less imperfect attempt towards a system of natural jurisprudence, or towards an enumeration of the particular rules of justice. As the violation of justice is what men will never submit to from one another, the public magistrate is under a necessity of employing the power of the commonwealth to enforce the practice of this virtue. Without this precaution, civil society would become a scene of bloodshed and disorder, every man revenging himself at his own hand whenever he fancied he was injured. To prevent the confusion which would attend upon every man's doing justice to himself, the magistrate, in all governments that have acquired any considerable authority, undertakes to do justice to all, and promises to hear and to redress every complaint of injury. In all well-governed states too, not only judges are appointed for determining the controversies of individuals, but rules are prescribed for regulating the decisions of those judges; and these rules are, in general, intended to coincide with those of natural justice. It does not, indeed, always happen that they do so in every instance. Sometimes what is called the constitution of the state, that is, the interest of the government; sometimes the interest of particular orders of men who tyrannize the government, warp the positive laws of the country from what natural justice would prescribe. In some countries, the rudeness and barbarism of the people hinder the natural sentiments of justice from arriving at that accuracy and precision which, in more civilized nations, they naturally attain to. Their laws are, like their manners, gross and rude and undistinguishing. In other countries the unfortunate constitution of their courts of judicature hinders any regular system of jurisprudence from ever establishing itself among them, though the improved manners of the people may be such as would admit of the most accurate. In no country do the decisions of positive law coincide exactly, in every case, with the rules which the natural sense of justice would dictate. Systems of positive law, therefore, though they deserve the greatest authority, as the records of the sentiments of mankind in different ages and nations, yet can never be regarded as accurate systems of the rules of natural justice.”  (Emphasis added.)   Id. at VII.IV.36 (at 401-402). 

  “It might have been expected that the reasonings of lawyers, upon the different imperfections and improvements of the laws of different countries, should have given occasion to an inquiry into what were the natural rules of justice independent of all positive institution. It might have been expected that these reasonings should have led them to aim at establishing a system of what might properly be called natural jurisprudence, or a theory of the general principles which ought to run through and be the foundation of the laws of all nations. But though the reasonings of lawyers did produce something of this kind, and though no man has treated systematically of the laws of any particular country, without intermixing in his work many observations of this sort; it was very late in the world before any such general system was thought of, or before the philosophy of law was treated of by itself, and without regard to the particular institutions of any one nation. In none of the ancient moralists, do we find any attempt towards a particular enumeration of the rules of justice. Cicero in his Offices, and Aristotle in his Ethics, treat of justice in the same general manner in which they treat of all the other virtues. In the laws of Cicero and Plato, where we might naturally have expected some attempts towards an enumeration of those rules of natural equity, which ought to be enforced by the positive laws of every country, there is, however, nothing of this kind. Their laws are laws of police, not of justice. Grotius seems to have been the first who attempted to give the world any thing like a system of those principles which ought to ruin through, and be the foundation of the laws of all nations: and his treatise of the laws of war and peace, with all its imperfections, is perhaps at this day the most complete work that has yet been given upon this subject. I shall in another discourse endeavour to give an account of the general principles of law and government, and of the different revolutions they have undergone in the different ages and periods of society, not only in what concerns justice, but in what concerns police, revenue, and arms, and whatever else is the object of law. I shall not, therefore, at present enter into any further detail concerning the history of jurisprudence.” (Emphasis added.)   Id. at VII.IV.37 (at 402).

For more information The Theory of Moral Sentiments, click here.

Freidrich A. Hayek:  [excerpts forthcoming]   

Joseph Alois Schumpeter: [excerpts forthcoming]   

Milton Freidman:  [excerpts forthcoming]   

Paul A. Samuelson:  [excerpts forthcoming]

William Stanley Jevons:[excerpts forthcoming]  See, e.g., Walter Kaufman , William Stanley Jevons, Online Library of Liberty (2013).

[et al. forthcoming]

b. Jurists/legal scholars: 

John Austin: [excerpts forthcoming]   

John Chipman Gray:
[excerpts forthcoming]   

Joseph H. Beale:
[excerpts forthcoming]   

Lon L. Fuller:  See, e.g., Lon L. Fuller, The Problems of Jurisprudence 721 (1949) (noting that the “principle of the common need is tragically dependent upon communication” and that “[w]henever opposing interests exist – in government, in industry, in international relations -- . . . how much wider the area of “common ground” is for those who have studied the problem first-hand than it is for those who view it from a distance.”). Fuller states that “societies achieve order in four principal ways: (1) joint discovery and recognition of the common need; (2) the establishment of some rule-making power; (3) the solution of disputes by adjudication; and (4) negotiation and agreement among the interested parties.” Id. at 694.  He adds that “[c]orresponding  to these four ways of achieving order are four  ‘principles of order’ . . .  (1) the principle of the common need;  (2) the principle of legitimated power; (3); the principle of adjudication; and (4) the principle of contract.”).  Fuller notes that in “societies with which we are familiar the principle of the common need never of itself furnishes a sufficient basis for order. It is always intertwined with the three other principles.” Id.   He concludes that “Of the four principles of order, that of the common need is basic and indispensable. The other three principles are intelligible and defensible only as necessary supplements to that principle and as devices or procedures for realizing it.”  Id. at 711.

See also, e.g., Lon L. Fuller, The Morality of Law (1964 (11th printing 1973)). Professor Fuller distinguishes "morality of aspiration" from "morality of duty." Id. at 5. The
"morality of aspiration" -- exemplified in the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle -- is "the morality of the Good Life, of excellence, of the fullest realization of human powers" where the the citizen, e.g, was "condemned for failure" or "shortcoming" not for "wrongdoing." Id.  The "morality of duty" in contrast "lays down the basic rules without which an ordered society directed toward certain goals must fail its mark" and condemns members of society for "failing to respect the basic requirements of social living."  id. at 5-6. Fuller refers to Adam Smith's analogy (see supra, Smith at III.I.123 (at 203): “The rules of justice may be compared to the rules of grammar; the rules of the other virtues, to the rules which critics lay down for the attainment of what is sublime and elegant in composition.") where Fuller similarly to Smith likens the "morality of duty" to the rules of grammar and the "morality of aspiation" to the more general principles of good writing. Id. at 6.Fuller sees "a close affinity between the notion of justice and that of moral duty, though the duty of dealing justly with others probably covers a narrower area than that embraced by moral duties generally." Id. at 6, n 4. 

For more information on Professor Fuller, click here.   
For more information on The Morality of Law, click here.       

Arthur L. Corbin:  See,Lon L. Fuller, The Problems of Jurisprudence 643 (1949) (“We are stating a rule of law when “some fact or group of facts will operate to create a particular legal relation.”   For example: “A owes B $100 – statement of fact.”  Or “The delivery of a deed conveys title to land – rule of law.” Id. “Rules of law, enabling us to determine the operative effect of facts, are not discovered by mere analysis; they are discovered rather by a study of history – by a knowledge of written statutes, of precedents, and of social mores.” Id.  See Arthur L. Corbin, Legal Analysis and Terminology, 29 Yale L. J. 163-173 (1919) (article reproduced in Lon L. Fuller, The Problems of Jurisprudence 639-652 (1949) with the permission of the Yale Law Journal Company (copyright holder) and Professor Corbin).

Oliver Wendell Holmes:
  See,.e.g., Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Common Law 7-20 (1923 (48th printing)) (Mosaic law, Greek law Roman law, early German law, Anglo-Saxon law, common law); Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Path of the Law, 10 Harvard L. Rev. 457 (1897) (“The object of our study, then, is prediction, the prediction of the incidence of the public force through the instrument of the courts.”).  Id. at 461 (“Take the fundamental question, What constitutes the law?” He answers that some writers say “that it is a system of reason, that it is a deduction from principles of ethics or admitted axioms or what not.”).

Roscoe Pound:  See, e.g., Roscoe Pound, The Spirit of the Common Law (1921); Roscoe Pound, Interpretations of Legal History (1923 (reprinted 1967)) (observing various interpretations: ethical, political, ethnological and biological, economic, great-lawyer (e.g., Moses, Savigny, Coke, Lord Campbell), engineering). For more information, click here.  For more information on The Spirit of the Common Law, click here.

Benjamin N. Cardozo:  See, e.g., Benjamin N. Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process (1921, renewed 1949 (paperbound 1960, second printing 1961)) (method: philosophy, history, tradition, sociology); Benjamin N. Cardozo, The Growth of the Law 1, 21, 56, 85 (1924 (12th printing 1963)) (needs of law: scientific restatement, certainty, philosophy, growth, stability, among others; better understanding  of “prevailing canons of justice and morality.”). Id. at 140 (“law is the expression of a principle of order” to which members of society “must conform in their conduct and relations.”).

 Wesley Newcomb Hofeld:  See, e.g., Wesley Newcomb Hofeld, Fundamental Legal Conceptions 36 (1919, renewed 1946 (3rd printing 1964)) (sets forth a scheme of “opposites” and “correlatives” (e.g., jural correlatives: right/duty, privilege/no-right, power/liability/ immunity/disability).

Jaques Maritan:  See, e.g.,  Jaques Maritan, Man and State 84-91 (1951) (noting that (at 85) “human nature is the same in all” humans and that (at 89) “natural law" is the known measuring of “human practical reason” as the “measure of human acts.”).  Id. at 90 (“The only practical knowledge all” humans have “naturally and infallibly in common as a self-evident principle . . . is that we must do good and avoid evil. This is the preamble and the principle of natural law.”).  Id. (“Natural law is an unwritten law.”).”  Id. at 91 (noting that “the law and the knowledge of the law are two different things. Yet the law has force only when it is promulgated” and thus “only insofar as it is known and expressed in assertions of practical reason that natural law has force of law.”).

Sir Henry Sumner Maine:
[excerpts forthcoming] 

Walter Wheeler Cook: 
[excerpts forthcoming]

John Rawls:
[excerpts forthcoming]   John Rawls, A Theory of Justice

Louis D. Brandeis:  [excerpts forthcoming]

c. Founders  

Add commentary on Jefferson, Hamilton, et al.]

d. Others 

Ralph Waldo Emerson:  The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson 172 (ed. Brook Atkinson )1950)) (Emerson states that the "law of Compensation" is "dual," that this "action and reaction, we meet in every part of nature; in darkness and light; in heat and cold.").  Id. at 173 (This "same dualism underlies the nature and condition of man. Every excess causes a defect; every defect an excess.").  Id. at 174 ("This law writes the laws of cities and nations. Things refuse to e mismanaged long. Though no checks to a new evil appear, the checks exist, and will appear.  If you make the criminal code sanguinary, juries will not convict. If the law is too mild, private vengeance comes in."). 
Id. at 183 ( The "law holds with equal sureness for all right action."). Id. at 184 ("The nature and soul of things takes on itself the guaranty of the fulfilment of every contract.").  See also, e.g., James Reston, A Time for Reflection, N.Y. Times, Dec. 24, 1986 ("Emerson's law of 'compensation' is beginning to work.  Ever trick -- or at least some of them -- is exposed at the end, every good deed rewarded and every scoundrel punished."), available at,4604024   (link to Reston's article appearing in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal (a N.Y. Times company), entitled Reflecting on past and future, Dec. 30, 1986; this link to Reston article is the only one found in both N.Y. Times search on the N.Y.Times site and a Googlre search).

A. P. d’Entreves, Natural Law 8 (1951 (6th impression 1961) (“Natural law terminology has held its ground in ethics and law ever since the Greeks first coined it at the dawn of civilization.”).  Id. (quoting Sir Earnest Barker, Traditions of Civility (1948) notes Barker’s tracing the “idea of natural law” to “Antigone of Sophocles” as the “notion of eternal and immutable justice” and Barker’s conclusion that “law is somehow above law-making “ and “lawmakers, after all, are somehow under and subject to law.”).

Add commentary on others]

Ck when Hein site is up and running again; org/HOL/LandingPage?collection=journals&handle=hein.journals/illlr12&div=63&id=&page=

[Can some inferences be drawn from the above sources -- forthcoming.  See, e.g.,

F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities (1947 (first printing by Meriian Books)) [excerpts forthcoming].

David M. Walker, Oxford Companion to Law re "law"

6. Civil law/Roman Law: 

John Henry Merryman:  See, e.g., John Henry Merryman, The Civil Law Tradition 1 (1969) (noting that national legal systems are frequently classified into "common law" systems (e.g., England, New York) or "civil law" systems (e.g., France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil), but still "great differences" exist between each of these countries' legal systems.).

See also supra Roman Law.
Code Napoleon
Cf. Common law
French code; German code
Scotland (mixture)

7. Mythology/philosophy: 

[Add additional cites from books by Campbell, Edith Hamilton, et al. ?]

Edith Hamilton:  See, e.g., Edith Hamilton, Mythology (1942 (1989 Meridian)).
  For information on Edith Hamilton, click hereFor more information, click here.     

Joseph Campbell:
   Joseph Campbell, Myths to Live By 65 (1972 (11th printing)) (Campbell notes that in the Orient "only one great cosmic law" governed "all things in their places" known as Maat in Egyptian, as Me in Suerian, as Tao in Chinese, and Dharma in Sanscrit.).  See also, e.g., Robert Segal, Joseph Campbell, Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online (June 26, 2013), ("Campbell advocated myth as a panacea for not only psychological woes but also social woes, and he attributed almost all human problems to the absence of myth. Campbell also saw himself as both a psychologist and a philosopher, whereas Jung saw himself as a psychologist alone. Rather than confine his subject matter to myth and the human mind, Campbell found in myth the key to the cosmos as a whole."); Wolfgang Saxon, Joseph Campbell, Writer Known For His Scholarship on Mythology, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 2, 1987, available at

See also, e.g., Neal Horsley, The Destroyers of The Faith (March 23, 2012),
("Anyone who takes a moment to analyze what we know of our species can clearly imagine what our species was involved in when all the world was a jungle and no law prevailed except the law of the jungle.").  Id. ("Campbell tells us that "the kingly art of government" came into existence sometime around 3500 B.C. But anyone who has insight into what was required for people to have access to land that supported the game, water, and vegetation necessary for survival has to know that government, the cooperative relationships among people for the purpose of enforcing their will on another, had been in existence ever since the first man and first woman had the first child. What Campbell called "the kingly art of government" was nothing more than an advanced stage in the orderly evolution of the search for a land that could support the culture that began with the first family of Homo sapiens.").

See also, e.g., [convert to Bluebook style re interviews] The Masks of God, THINKING ALLOWED, Conversations On The Leading Edge Of Knowledge and Discovery With Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove  (1998) THINKING ALLOWED PRODUCTIONS, UNDERSTANDING MYTHOLOGY  with JOSEPH CAMPBELL,    (According to CAMPBELL "mythology has to do with guiding us --first, in relation to the society and the whole world of nature, which is outside of us but also within us, because the organs of our body are of nature; and then also, the guiding of the individual through the inevitable stages of life, from childhood to maturity, and then on to the last gate. And this is concerned with those matters.").  Id. ("A mythology is not just the fantasy of this, that, or another person; it's a systematized organization of fantasies in relation to the values of a given social order. So that mythologies always derive from specific social environments. And when you realize that every one of the early civilizations was based on a mythology, you can realize the force of this great, great heritage that we have.").

Hinduism:  See, e.g.,dharma, Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online (June 27, 2013),  ("In Hinduism dharma is the religious and moral law governing individual conduct and one of the four ends of life, to be followed according to one’s class, status, and station in life. It constitutes the subject matter of the dharmasutras, religious manuals that are the earliest source of Hindu law, and in the course of time has been extended into lengthy compilations of law, the dharmashastra.").

See, e.g., Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, Hindu Myths 11 (1975) ("each myth celebrated the belief that the universe is boundlessly various . . . all possibilities may exist without excluding each other.").  Id. at 46 (noting in myth 9 that the  Lord's creature were "harmful or benign, gentle or cruel, full of dhrama or adharma, truthful or false."
). Other myths  (e.g., 37, 39, 56, 62, 63, 65, 72, 75) refer to dharma.   Id. at 145 ("Dharmaketu ('Having the law as his banner') is an epithet of the Buddha."). 

See,e.g., Anna K. Seidel & Michel Strickmann, Daoism, ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA ONLINE (June 27, 2013),"From the court of the King of Qi (in present-day Shandong province) where they were already expounding the Laozi in the 3rd century bce, the teachings of the Huang-Lao masters soon spread throughout learned and official circles in the capital. Many early Han statesmen became their disciples and attempted to practice government by inaction (wuwei); among them were also scholars who cultivated esoteric arts. Although their doctrine lost its direct political relevance during the reign of the emperor Wudi (reigned 141–87 BC), their ensemble of teachings concerning both ideal government and practices for prolonging life continued to evoke considerable interest and is perhaps the earliest truly Daoist movement of which there is clear historical evidence.).  Id. ("Confucianism is concerned with human society and the social responsibilities of its members; Daoism emphasizes nature and what is natural and spontaneous in the human experience. The two traditions, “within society” and “beyond society,” balance and complement each other."); Chad Hansen, Taoism, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),  ("Dao is also used concretely to refer to a road or path in Chinese.  Roads guide us and facilitate our arrival at a desired destination. They are, as it were, physically real guiding or prescriptive structures.").

Conclusion -- Important role of law in providing order and in recognizing the common need, the social interest in the general security in business and in society:

Recorded history and the writings of philosophers, scholars, custom, mythology, and other influences -- all have evidenced the important role of law in providing order and in recognizing the common need, the
social interest in the general security in business and in society.

See, e.g., Melissa Bushman, The Role and Functions of Law in Business and Society (Feb. 10, 2007), (“ Law plays a significant role in the successful operation of business and society. Laws regulate social behavior, which leads to a society that runs efficiently. Laws also supply ethical standards and expectations, while providing rules of conduct, measures to enforce those rules, and a means for settling disputes. Other functions of law include: peacekeeping; checking government power and promoting personal freedom; facilitating planning and the realization of reasonable expectations; promoting economic growth through free competition; promoting social justice; and protecting the environment (Mallor, Barnes, Bowers, and Langvardt). It is important to note that without laws to govern the actions of people and businesses, society would not be able to function effectively, and commerce would likely collapse.”); John Friedman, The Role of Business in a Global Society: Progress or Protect?, (2013), (“In his book Moral Capitalism Steven Young, global executive director of the Caux Round Table, stresses the critical importance of being mindful and respectful of the local indigenous cultures that may be ill equipped to "fight back" against a more technologically advanced one.”)  Id. (“Young recognizes that however well intended, the very existence of a business from overseas threatens the local social, political, religious and political orders and challenges the status quo. Therefore, he writes ‘business has a responsibility to moderate its impact on those communities, which can hardly protect themselves against the intrusions.’ "); Business and Society Program Area, Leonard N. Stern School of Business (2013),  (“The purpose of the Business and Society Program Area (BSPA) is to ensure that every Stern student graduates with a strong understanding of his or her responsibilities as a business professional, and with a keen appreciation for the role of ethics and law in creating and maintaining efficient markets and best business practices.”); Catalog, Department of Business, Government, and Society, The University of Texas at Austin,; United Nations and the Rule of Law,

See also, e.g., Constance E. Bagley, Gavin Clarkson, and Rachel Power, Deep Links: Business School Students’ Perceptions of the Role of Law and Ethics in Business, Harvard Business School Working Paper Series  (No. 06-039 (draft form),June 7, 2006),  (“Several legal scholars, including Prentice (2002), have argued that what today’s business students need is not more ethics but more law. As of 2005, only three of the top twenty graduate schools of business (as rated by Business Week or U.S. News & World Report) required a law course (Wharton, Michigan, and the University of Texas at Austin). In contrast, in 1959, when Robert Aaron Gordon and James Edwin Howell authored the influential Ford Foundation report Higher Education for Business (Gordon & Howell, 1959), every top business school required at least one course in business law.”).