Monday, 11 March 2013

David Friedman At The ASI: Law Without The State

From January this year also. The ceding of Formosa to Japan (1895) and the Japanese attempt to understand the existing laws in Taiwan is mentioned at 8.40 in order to raise the point that there were no existing contract laws in Taiwan at the time; the Chinese traders still made contracts, but the enforcement mechanisms were largely reputational rather than Statist. I wonder whether there also existed at that time, as exists today, the possibility of litigation for damages due to unjust loss of reputation caused by the operation of these mechanisms, or whether this is a modern feature specific to the western-style State in Taiwan. It occurs to me that the latter mechanism (litigation for reputational loss) would interfere with the operation of the former mechanism, as seems to be at least sometimes the case in modern day Taiwan (e.g. a customer cannot complain about a company's product or service via say facebook, without risking litigation - as the recent beef-noodle restaurant case showed).

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