I was going to write another post about Legal Systems Very Different from Ours, but it turns out that about half the book is bibliography and endnotes. There are several chapters of conclusion, but not much new worth highlighting.
The authors’ main point, I suppose, is that there are many different but still functional legal systems; I have a slightly different theory, that legal systems, whatever their form, adjust to the needs and characters of the people using them. Of course, I also suspect that legal systems often “work” because people route around them.
This is an interesting thread on how the US legal system treats people merely accused of crimes, many of whom are, of course, innocent:
Responding to crime requires balancing between punishments harsh enough to deter serious crime, and soft enough to make people willing to report crimes.
There are a variety of disputes that break out between people that need solving but don’t rise to the level of wanting the other guy in prison–take many disputes between relatives.
There are also crimes that people don’t think the police prosecute adequately, and so have taken to prosecuting by other means–take college rape tribunals.
Beyond just “there are many valid legal systems,” I think the authors of LSVDFO would also like to propose that we can have effective legal systems that aren’t run by the state–and that perhaps such systems could be more effective than our current one.
And since LSVDFO is over, what would you like to read next?