Structural Coupling of Economy and Law

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.

Correct procedure or justice?

Luhmann argued that the legal system does not seek justice; as a self-referential social system, the legal system doesn’t have a goal other than its own reproduction. Justice is a value, but modern function systems are not undergirded by values. Ethically or morally just outcomes are not important. All that really matters is following established procedure, or due process.

Shared post on law and politics

This idea—that the difference between law and politics is a difference in language—lies at the heart of Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory. Luhmann suggested that society must be understood as a communication system. As such, it is differentiated into different subsystems, among them the political system and the legal system, but also, for example, the religious system, the scientific system, and so on.

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