Journal of Law and Society

Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
2021-02-01
ISBN:
0263-323X

Latest documents

  • Introduction: Law for a New Economy: Enterprise, Sharing, Regulation
  • Redefining the Corporation for a Sustainable New Economy

    ‘Business as usual’ is a very certain path towards a very uncertain future. On the ‘business as usual’ trajectory, the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), epitomizing the overarching goals of global society, is unlikely. A fundamental transition away from ‘business as usual’ and onto a sustainable path is necessary. However, the SDGs themselves do not seem informed by a recognition of a potential conflict between indefinite economic growth and planetary boundaries. This article posits that this is symptomatic of our economic system, and turns to the dominant business form – the corporation – to discuss its significance as a barrier to and potential as a driver for sustainability. Drawing on multi‐jurisdictional, comparative research, the article presents a reform proposal, challenging the shareholder‐primacy drive, and ending on a positive note with the potential of corporate contribution to systemic change.

  • Table of Contents
  • Regulating Crowd Equity Funding – the Why and the How

    Crowd equity funding is a form of sharing economy that allows companies to obtain seed or other capital through small equity investments from a large range of investors via an online portal. Investors receive shares in the company in return for their investment. This form of finance has been viewed as a way to remedy the shortfall of capital for small and medium enterprises. However, in certain jurisdictions the regulation of this form of sharing economy is akin to that used for the traditional economy. This has created hurdles to the growth of this alternate form of finance. Accordingly, this article provides a snapshot of the regulation that applies to crowd equity funding in different jurisdictions to highlight the flaws of such regulatory approaches. The article concludes by advocating that an ‘outside‐the‐box’ solution may be needed to regulate this emerging industry.

  • Telling Stories Beautifully: Hybrid Legal Forms in the New Economy

    This article explores the expressive and constitutive dimensions of hybrid legal forms emerging as vehicles for grass‐roots innovations that seek to forge renewed economic trajectories. Drawing on a relational perspective, it analyses company constitutions, and crowdfunding offers based on them. It explores the ways in which the practices of forming a legal entity and raising finance to support its growth relate to a broader narrative of creating initiatives for a sustainable economy, one that radically reworks the priority of social and environmental objectives in economic organizations. A closer examination of three specific initiatives from Australia illustrates the ways in which dynamic engagement with legal form can enable, loosen or magnify relationality. This approach helps illuminate the ways in which formal legal structure for economic enterprise is both an inherently regulatory vehicle, but also a site for the mediation and stabilization of patterns of exchange.

  • ‘BorrowMyDoggy.Com’: Rethinking Peer‐to‐peer Exchange for Genuine Sharing

    This article re‐examines what constitutes genuine sharing in peer‐to‐peer collaborative transactions by contrasting a pet owner‐borrower matching initiative to other enterprises such as Uber and Airbnb. It argues that aims of public spiritedness and community building through interactions are essential for sustaining peer‐to‐peer collaborations. When money is the focal point of exchange, the collaborative relationship is motivated by profit making rather than goals of sustainability, well‐being or good citizenship. Interactions that create new kinds of connections within communities (rather than replacing traditional connections with cheaper or more accessible ones) are more likely to generate a genuine sharing ethos. The chief implication of the case study is that collaborators need to think carefully about objectives and means of exchange. Capturing new kinds of productive relationships, which are not overly reliant on the exchange of money, may contribute to genuine exchange and enhance community relations, leading to greater cultural citizenship.

  • Beyond the Shareholder Corporation: Alternative Business Forms and the Contestation of Markets

    This article considers various, established and emerging, alternative business forms that differ categorically from the traditional corporation in terms of their governance, objectives, and/or ownership structures, including mission‐led businesses, social enterprises, cooperatives, and co‐owned firms. Notwithstanding their considerable diversity, the underpinning pattern of these alternatives points towards a stakeholder model of corporate governance that commits the firm to generating value by maximizing the positive impact on its (internal and external) stakeholders while limiting negative impacts, with trade‐offs carefully balanced against each other. Through these commitments, the firm internalizes a process of democratic contestation: a procedure to mediate the different interests of these market actors is incorporated directly into the structure of the firm, through procedural mechanisms embedded within its internal constitution.

  • Alternative Imaginings of Regulation: An Experiment in Co‐production

    Despite decades of regulatory scholarship that took responsive regulation and regulatory space as starting points, much regulatory practice still has little focus on the experiences of those at the ‘sharp end’ of regulation. This article develops some of the insights from a five‐year research programme that aimed to explore what regulatory systems might look like if they took seriously the idea of ‘regulating for engagement’, working with community organizations to understand how regulation is experienced ‘at the margins’. We argue that the methodology of co‐production expands our ways of knowing by allowing in expertise‐by‐experience to the deliberative processes of regulation; the creative processes that artists bring in can produce artefacts that have an important role in developing ‘really responsive regulation’.

  • Corporate Enterprise as Commonwealth

    Deepening ecological crisis alongside a half century of widening inequality and economic instability are evidence that ‘Business as Usual’ cannot go on. Transformation is required, particularly in the realm of corporate activity, the business of business. Shareholder primacy is a powerful social norm that constrains transformation. It positions publicly traded corporations as compelled by competitive necessity and bound by law to place shareholder returns first. This article reviews critical legal theory that questions the historical precedence, legal coherence, and practical consequence of shareholder primacy in corporate law. I consider Deakin's suggestion that it might be more appropriate to think of the corporation as a commons managed for the benefit of multiple parties. In my view, Deakin's conceptualization might be further elaborated by turning to other traditions in enterprise formation, most notably those that have shaped the cooperative form in Italy and elsewhere.

  • ‘This Land is Yours’: Ownership and Agency in the Sharing City

    As people try to remake cities in more collaborative ways, how do law and legality shape their actions and aspirations? Focusing on Lande, an organization that brings citizens together to transform vacant sites into parks, playgrounds, and productive gardens, this article finds a co‐constitutive relationship between law and citizen engagement. Established in Montreal, Canada, Lande drew inspiration and advice from organizations in New York and other cities internationally. Law was a key concern. Yet, more than the navigation of particular rules and regulations, interactions with international groups were crucial in facilitating engagement with legality more generally. Just as Lande tells the citizens of Montreal in a very grounded way that ‘this land is yours’, the relational and material ways in which the group's international precursors engage and (re)develop understandings of law and ownership provide powerful invitations to reshape the city and one's place in it.

Featured documents

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