The American Illness


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Essays on the Rule of Law

Edited by F. H. Buckley

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $65.00
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This provocative book brings together twenty-plus contributors from the fields of law, economics, and international relations to look at whether the U.S. legal system is contributing to the country’s long postwar decline. The book provides a comprehensive overview of the interactions between economics and the law—in such areas as corruption, business regulation, and federalism—and explains how our system works differently from the one in most countries, with contradictory and hard to understand business regulations, tort laws that vary from state to state, and surprising judicial interpretations of clearly written contracts. This imposes far heavier litigation costs on American companies and hampers economic growth.

F. H. Buckley, a Foundation Professor at George Mason School of Law, has been published by the Journal of Legal Studies, the International Review of Law and Economics, and Public Choice. He is also the author of four books, including The Morality of Laughter, and the co-author of four books.

"Buckley has assembled essays by many, perhaps most, of the best economic and legal scholars in the Anglo-American world to consider seriously the ways in which the American legal system burdens our citizens and our economy and puts us at an international competitive disadvantage. The "rule of law" we so earnestly commend to other countries is clearly in need of serious reform at home. The rigor of these historical, economic, and comparative studies, and the logic of the framework within which Buckley presents them, make a compelling case for law reform scaled to our needs for the 21st Century."—Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, U.S. Court of Appeals and NYU Law School

"This book presents strong evidence of American hyper-litigiousness and the social costs it creates. The editor has assembled an impressive array of authors, who attack these issues with rich empirical evidence."—Eugene Kontorovich, Northwestern University School of Law


"This authoritative collection of essays draws a vivid portrait of a legal system that is out of control. The Rule of Law in America has become a kind of Frankenstein’s monster, bashing indiscriminately both good and bad conduct without proportion or self-awareness. These vivid essays let the facts drive you to this unavoidable conclusion: American law is indeed “exceptional”—but no longer in a way that supports either freedom or regulatory protection."—Philip K. Howard, author of The Death of Common Sense and Chair of Common Good  

ISBN: 9780300175219
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
552 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
10 b/w illus.