Structural Coupling of Economy and Law

According to Max Weber, monetary or commercial transactions are ephemeral and exclude personal ties. Once a purchase is complete, the link between buyer and seller dissolves. There are exceptions, however, that Weber doesn’t mention (as far as I know).

If a product comes with a warranty, a legal obligation enters. The structural coupling between economy and law changes things by adding the temporal dimension, which is the duration of the warranty. Without a warranty or a return option, an economic transaction is an event with no duration. It begins and ends in the same moment. The temporal dimension doesn’t come into play. In a “pure” economic transaction, only the factual dimension comes into play–not the temporal or social dimensions. An example of pure commercial transaction would prostitution.

The temporal dimension also comes into play when businesses are subject to lawsuits over harmful products. A harm may be detected many years after a product (e.g., cigarettes, asbestos) is sold and the producer may be still be liable. This is the realm of tort law.

tort
n. from French for “wrong,” a civil wrong or wrongful act, whether intentional or accidental, from which injury occurs to another. Torts include all negligence cases as well as intentional wrongs which result in harm. Therefore tort law is one of the major areas of law (along with contract, real property and criminal law) and results in more civil litigation than any other category. Some intentional torts may also be crimes, such as assault, battery, wrongful death, fraud, conversion (a euphemism for theft) and trespass on property and form the basis for a lawsuit for damages by the injured party. Defamation, including intentionally telling harmful untruths about another-either by print or broadcast (libel) or orally (slander)-is a tort and used to be a crime as well.

https://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=2137

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