Designerly ways with law and economy

This presentation was prepared for one of three panels of the Economic Lives of Law co-organise by me, Diamond Ashiagbor and Prabha Kotiswaran for the 2022 Law and Society Association annual meeting in Lisbon. Thanks to the Leverhulme Foundation for funding my research.

In this presentation I explore how design-based methods might be deployed to investigate and respond , in more or less structured ways, to issues arising at the intersections of law and economy.

I start from two premises. First, you cannot properly investigate or respond to econo-legal questions if you do not understand law and economy as fundamentally social phenomena: Economics and political economy will only get you so far. Second, if these sociolegal approaches to law and economy are to be meaningful, they must be structured, yet flexible: Structured enough to offer analytical purchase, yet flexible enough to accommodate the multiple scales and contexts that exist in the real world.

I offer three examples in which designerly ways have created the possibility for structured-yet-flexible engagement with alternatives.

The examples are drawn from the international practice of the Doughnut Economics Action Lab, Stuart Candy’s experiential futures and Ann Light’s use of counterfactuals.

Each example hints at the promise of designerly ways for those working at the intersections of law and economy.

However, none of this potential can be fully realised in the absence of equally practical-critical-imaginative, structured-yet-flexible and synthetic conceptualisations of law and economy.

But that is another presentation.

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