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The Emergence Of Classical American Patent Law, Herbert Hovenkamp Aug 2015

The Emergence Of Classical American Patent Law, Herbert Hovenkamp

Herbert Hovenkamp

The Emergence of Classical Patent Law

Abstract

One enduring historical debate concerns whether the American Constitution was intended to be "classical" -- referring to a theory of statecraft that maximizes the role of private markets and minimizes the role of government in economic affairs. The most central and powerful proposition of classical constitutionalism is that the government's role in economic development should be minimal. First, private rights in property and contract exist prior to any community needs for development. Second, if a particular project is worthwhile the market itself will make it occur. Third, when the government attempts to induce ...


The Classical Constitution, Herbert Hovenkamp Feb 2015

The Classical Constitution, Herbert Hovenkamp

Herbert Hovenkamp

Conservative and libertarian constitutional writers have often pined for return to a "classical" understanding of American federal and state Constitutions. "Classical" does not necessarily mean "originalist" or "interpretivist." Some classical views, such as the attempt to revitalize Lochner-style economic due process, find little support in the text of the federal Constitution or any of the contemporary state constitutions. Rather, constitutional meaning is thought to lie in a background link between constitution formation and classical statecraft. The core theory rests on the assumption of a social contract to which everyone in some initial position agreed. Like any contract, it would ...


Progressive Legal Thought, Herbert Hovenkamp Oct 2014

Progressive Legal Thought, Herbert Hovenkamp

Herbert Hovenkamp

A widely accepted model of American legal history is that classical legal thought, which dominated much of the nineteenth century, was displaced by progressive legal thought, which survived through the New Deal and in some form to this day. Within its domain, this was a revolution nearly on a par with Copernicus or Newton. This paradigm has been adopted by both progressive liberals who defend this revolution and by classical liberals who lament it. Classical legal thought is generally identified with efforts to systematize legal rules along lines that had become familiar in the natural sciences. This methodology involved not ...


Inventing The Classical Constitution, Herbert Hovenkamp Aug 2014

Inventing The Classical Constitution, Herbert Hovenkamp

Herbert Hovenkamp

One recurring call over a century of American constitutional thought is for return to a “classical” understanding of American federal and state Constitutions. “Classical” does not necessarily mean “originalist” or “interpretivist." Some classical views, such as the attempt to revitalize Lochner-style economic due process, find little support in the text of the federal Constitution or any of the contemporary state constitutions. Rather, constitutional meaning is thought to lie in a background link between constitution formation and classical statecraft. The core theory rests on the assumption of a social contract to which everyone in some initial position agreed. Like any ...


Coase, Institutionalism, And The Origins Of Law And Economics, Herbert Hovenkamp Feb 2010

Coase, Institutionalism, And The Origins Of Law And Economics, Herbert Hovenkamp

Herbert Hovenkamp

ABSTRACT

Ronald Coase merged two traditions in economics, marginalism and institutionalism. Neoclassical economics in the 1930s was characterized by an abstract conception of marginalism and frictionless resource movement. Marginal analysis did not seek to uncover the source of individual human preference, but accepted preference as given. It treated the business firm in the same way, focusing on how firms make market choices, but saying little about their internal workings.

“Institutionalism” historically refers to a group of economists who wrote mainly in the 1920s and 1930s. Their place in economic theory is outside the mainstream, but they have found new energy ...


The Law Of Vertical Integration And The Business Firm, 1880-1960, Herbert Hovenkamp Mar 2009

The Law Of Vertical Integration And The Business Firm, 1880-1960, Herbert Hovenkamp

Herbert Hovenkamp

ABSTRACT

Vertical integration occurs when a firm does something for itself that it could otherwise procure on the market. For example, a manufacturer that opens its own stores is said to be vertically integrated into distribution. Both classical political economy and marginalist economics saw vertical integration and vertical contractual arrangements as much less threatening to competition than cartels or other horizontal arrangements. Nevertheless, vertical integration produced by far the greater amount of legislation at both federal and state levels and motivated many more political action groups. Two things explain this phenomenon. First, while economists prior to the 1930s rarely saw ...


Neoclassicism And The Separation Of Ownership And Control, Herbert Hovenkamp Feb 2009

Neoclassicism And The Separation Of Ownership And Control, Herbert Hovenkamp

Herbert Hovenkamp

NEOCLASSICISM AND THE SEPARATION OF OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL Herbert Hovenkamp ABSTRACT The separation of ownership and control is a phrase that will forever be associated with Adolf A. Berle and Gardiner C. Means The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1932), as well as with Institutionalist economics, Legal Realism, and the New Deal. Neoclassical economists have generally been sharply critical, both of the historical facts that Berle and Means purported to describe and of the conclusions that they drew. In fact, however, the separation of ownership and control had already been an essential element of the neoclassical theory of corporate governance ...


The Neoclassical Crisis In U.S. Competition Policy, 1890-1960, Herbert Hovenkamp Sep 2008

The Neoclassical Crisis In U.S. Competition Policy, 1890-1960, Herbert Hovenkamp

Herbert Hovenkamp

ABSTRACT The development of marginalist, or neoclassical, economics led to a fifty-year long crisis in competition policy. Given an industrial structure with sufficient fixed costs, competition always became "ruinous," forcing firms to cut prices to marginal cost without sufficient revenue remaining to pay off investment. Early neoclassicists such as Alfred Marshall were not able to solve this problem. As a result many early twentieth century economists were hostile toward the antitrust laws. The ruinous competition debate came to an abrupt end in the early 1930's, when economists Joan Robinson in Great Britain and particularly Edward Chamberlin in the United ...