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Foundational Principles of Contract Law$
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Melvin A. Eisenberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199731404.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

Bargain Promises and the Bargain Principle

Bargain Promises and the Bargain Principle

(p.31) Five Bargain Promises and the Bargain Principle
Foundational Principles of Contract Law

Melvin A. Eisenberg

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 concerns bargains. A bargain is an exchange in which each party views what he gives as the price of what he gets. Bargain promises are the paradigm case of a promise that should be legally enforceable. The substantive reasons for enforcing bargain promises are extremely strong. To begin with, bargains between actors who act voluntarily and are capable and fully informed increase wealth by producing gains through trade, because normally each party to a bargain values what he gets more highly than what he gives. Bargain promises also present few problems of process. Such promises are typically self-regarding and therefore are likely to be deliberatively made and finely calculated. For all these reasons, under the bargain principle in contract law a bargain promise is enforceable according to its terms in the absence of a defense such as fraud, duress, incapacity or unconscionability.

Keywords:   bargains, bargain promises, bargain principle, gains through trade, self-regarding promises, deliberatively made promises

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