Bond University

Article Title

Inevitability and Use


There are two standard jokes about economists. The punch line to the first joke is, “assume a can opener,” and the punch line to the second is “the light is better over here.” In these comments I am going to ask you to assume can openers, lots of can openers, and very large can openers. These remarks will not address the merits of the economic analysis of law as a critical study. My focus will not be on the usual criticisms of economic analysis and economics generally: the problems of methodology, the unrealistic assumptions made or the incompleteness of modelling techniques. I leave for another day the debate whether economic analysis will ultimately be found to be a fruitful field of study or whether it will prove to be barren. Instead, these comments proceed on the assumption that economic analysis deserves some place in the law school curriculum simply because it is so prevalent and pervasive. Its currency and its prevalence entitles it to a place in the curriculum just as much as feminist theory or critical legal theory. Let us assume, therefore, that law and economics will be taught in law schools if for no better reason than as an example of the heresy of the age. Having chosen for myself a much simpler task than addressing the methodology of law and economics, I want to address two pedagogical issues which flow from the paper, 1 and to tie us back into the theme of the Conference, Theory in Legal Education. These remarks explore the values latent in the theory and elaborate some of the material spoken about earlier. 2 My basic question is simple to ask, is teaching economic analysis simply the indoctrination of an implicit conservative ideology?