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The Oxford History of the Laws of England: Volume XI1820–1914 English Legal System$
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William Cornish, J Stuart Anderson, Ray Cocks, Michael Lobban, Patrick Polden, and Keith Smith

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199258819

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199258819.001.0001

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Law and Political Economy

Law and Political Economy

(p.158) VI Law and Political Economy
The Oxford History of the Laws of England: Volume XI

William Cornish

Michael Lobban

Keith Smith

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the relevant leading features of Victorian political economy that actively informed attitudes, assumptions, and policies manifested in lawmaking: both through legislation and by courts in their creative and interpretive roles. By ‘political economy’ is meant that sizeable element of political ideology and policies which concerns itself with the principles of the effective creation of a nation's wealth and its appropriate distribution. More detailed reflections on the relationship of specific economic considerations to particular areas of legal development will be found in the treatment of those individual topics. Collectively, these matters may be conveniently separated into two periods, very roughly reflecting discernible stages of political economic development: 1815-50 and 1850-1914. Within these periods two distinct but obviously related fields of policy and law-making require separating: first, those most directly affecting the economy and wealth generation; and secondly, those concerning the state's social philosophy on intervention in the distribution and spending of profits and wealth.

Keywords:   political economy, liberal economy, capitalism, collectivism, legal history

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