The Institutions of Private Law and Their Social Functions

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2009-12-30
  • Publisher: Routledge

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In the English-speaking world, Karl Renner is by far thebest-known among the Austro-Marxists who were active inthe Austrian socialist movement during the first few decadesof the twentieth century. Recognition of Renner’s scholarshipis due largely to the English translations of his works onMarxism, as well as to the secondary writings on his notionsof socialist legality and national cultural autonomy.Renner has for over half a century been celebrated forthe only book of his that has, to date, been wholly translatedinto English. It remains the classic socialist attempt to off era realistic understanding of the role of the legal institutionof private property in modern society: The Institutions ofPrivate Law and Their Social Functions. In his introductionto this edition, A. Javier Treviño discusses the volume’srelevance for today, and briefly describes that aspect ofRenner’s life that occupied most of this time and energy:his involvement in Austrian social democratic politics.The substance of Renner’s exposition remains intact.The text provides one of the best insights into the relationshipbetween capitalism and property’s economic functions.It emphasizes how this fundamental institution’s applicationhas, since the initial stage of finance capitalism, increasedor diminished, been externally transformed, or inherentlymetamorphosed. In an age of unprecedented global financialcrisis, emerging market countries, and increased governmentregulation, Treviño suggests we would do well to heed thebook’s message. It might help us understand the complexsituations we encounter today as we grapple with our hybrididentities as salaried workers and economic investors.

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