The Institutions of Private Law and Their Social Functions: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Institutions of Private Law and Their Social Functions

1st Edition

By Karl Renner


334 pages

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Paperback: 9781412811538
pub: 2009-12-30
Hardback: 9781138536357
pub: 2017-08-25
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pub: 2017-07-12
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In the English-speaking world, Karl Renner is by far the best-known among the Austro-Marxists who were active in the Austrian socialist movement during the first few decades of the twentieth century. Recognition of Renner's scholarship is due largely to the English translations of his works on Marxism, as well as to the secondary writings on his notions of socialist legality and national cultural autonomy.

Renner has for over half a century been celebrated for the only book of his that has, to date, been wholly translated into English. It remains the classic socialist attempt to off er a realistic understanding of the role of the legal institution of private property in modern society: The Institutions of Private Law and Their Social Functions. In his introduction to this edition, A. Javier Trevii?1/2o discusses the volume's relevance for today, and briefly describes that aspect of Renner'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 relationship between capitalism and property's economic functions. It emphasizes how this fundamental institution's application has, since the initial stage of finance capitalism, increased or diminished, been externally transformed, or inherently metamorphosed. In an age of unprecedented global financial crisis, emerging market countries, and increased government regulation, Trevii?1/2o suggests we would do well to heed the book's message. It might help us understand the complex situations we encounter today as we grapple with our hybrid identities as salaried workers and economic investors.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION by O. KAHN-FREUND, LL.M., Dr. Jur., Reader in Law, University of London
Translator's Note
SECTION I. The Problem
1 Norms
2 Legal Institutions and their Component Norms
3 The Economic and Social Functions of the Legal Institutions
SECTION II. The Organisation; and the Correlation of the Functions
1 The Organising Functions
2 The Economic Function in Particular
3 The Concept of the Social Function
SECTION I. Principles and Methods of Analysis
1 Patrimonial Property
2 Transformations in the Substratum of Property
3 The Right of Personal Freedom
4 The Social Character Mask of the Persona and the Economic Form of the Res
SECTION II. The Development of Capitalist Property and the Legal Institutions Complementary to the Property Norm
Property and the Contract of Employment
a Property Becomes Power of Command
b Property Assumes the Function of Organisation
c Property Dissolves the Old Social Order
d Property Becomes Control of Strangers
2 The Most Recent Development of Property and Labour
3 Property and the Contracts of Alienation
a Older Types of Alienation
b The Contract of Sale and its Economic Function
c Purchase and Profit
d Competition and Market
e The Merchant: His Economic Character Mask and His Legal Personality
f The Social Function of Commercial Business
4 Property and the Contracts of Restitution
a Money, its Substratum and its Legal Norm
b Loan and Interest
c The Social Function of the Credit System
5 Landed Property and its Complementary Institutions
a Agricultural Lease
b Urban Lease
c Mortgage
SECTION III. Capitalist Property and its Functions
The Function of Appropriation
a Dislocations in the Substratum. The Capitalist Function of the Property-Object
b Economic and Legal Property
2 The Function of Accumulation
a Distribution as a Function of Capital. The Specific Capitalist Manner of Appropriation
b Accumulation as a Function of Capital
3 Expropriation as a Function of Capitalist Property
4 Mutual Displacement of Surplus Value and Wages Revenue
SECTION IV. Capitalist Property and the Law Relating to Associations
I Accumulation and Association
2 Association and Ownership
3 Association and Credit
SECTION v. Property and the Law of Family
Family and Income
2 The Capitalist's Household
3 The Worker's Household. Social Insurance
4 Additional Contributions to the Wages Fund
5 The Family of the Worker
SECTION VI. Ownership and the Law of Succession
SECTION I. Norm and Substratum
1 Change of the Substratum. Economic Evolution
2 External Limits of the Efficacy of the Norm
3 The Change of Functions and the Absolute Lack of Functions
4 Ineffective Functioning. "Idolatry of the Decree"
SECTION II. The Change of Function and Its Various Forms.
1 Purely Quantitative Changes
2 Social Interconnections
3 The Divorce of Technical from Legal Use
4 Dissociations into Partial Functions
5 The Function as a Whole
SECTION III. The Function Becomes Divorced from the Legal Institution
Property Becomes Divorced from the Owner
2 The Capital Function is now Detached from the Res
3 The Object Acquires Many Functions. The Subject is Deprived of All Functions
SECTION IV. The Unit of Business and the Unit of Property Cease to Coincide
1 The Size of the Working Concern as Technical Optimum
2 The Size of the Concern as a Fortuitous Incident of the Law
3 Property as an Impediment to Concentration and Nationalisation
SECTION V. Modern Possessions. The Aggregate of Assets and Liabilities
SECTION VI. The Development of the Law
1 Change of Functions and Change of Norms
2 Complementary Institutions Displace the Principal Institution
3 Complementary Institutions of Public Law Force the Private Law Institutions into the Background
4 Legal Doctrine and the Tasks of Society

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Civil Law