This essay examines the current time of crisis and offers a vision of the way in which our society and our law can evolve in response. Crises of this scale are evolution-forcing events and I argue that the current moment can move us towards a fundamentally different vision of law and justice. It is the first essay or article to show that the autonomous pursuit of self-interest was a common assumption or value in the major intellectual forces of the twentieth century: classical free market economics, behavioral economics, and sociobiology, as well as in the competing visions of a just society of John Rawls and Robert Nozick. After introducing the alternative normative frameworks of caring developed by Carol Gilligan and of concern developed by Leslie Bender, I show how the common law of torts and contracts embraced self-interest as a value and then how tort and contract law could embrace the values of concern and fairness. I conclude that the danger of a culture that values the autonomous pursuit of self-interest above all else has been exposed by our current crisis and that an evolution towards a cultural regard for concern and fairness is a must.
Robert A. Bohrer,
Crisis and Cultural Evolution: Steering the Next Normal from Self-Interest to Concern and Fairness,
Ind. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.cwsl.edu/fs/356