The Socio-Economic Alternative in Teaching
AALS Section on Socio-Economics
Thursday, January 7, 1999
New Orleans Riverside Hilton
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
The growing interest in socio-economics among law teachers can be traced in part to a growing recognition that the lawyers'
codes of professional responsibility require a socio-economic approach to understanding economic behavior. One unifying theme of
the program is the responsibilities of lawyers and law teachers when using economics and other disciplines to serve clients, research
legal issues, and teach students. The program is intended not only for specialists, but also for generalists interested in improving legal
After (1) an overview of socio-economics and its relation to law, the participants (2) explore the moral dimension of
economic behavior (both positively and normatively) from socio-economic, Communitarian, and other perspectives, (3) consider the
application of socio-economic principles to issues of property law and professional responsibility, (4) explore other paradigms of
economic thought including behavioral, binary, and feminist economics, the new legal process, and the power coalition model, and
(5) consider the question of whether socio-economics is a new approach or rather merely a new label for one or more existing
approaches to economic behavior. Among the featured speakers are former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel and the Rev. Dr. Virgil Wood,
a co-worker with Martin Luther King, Jr.
The program was offered to show that socio-economics provides a rigorous, interdisciplinary, paradigm-conscious, value-
conscious approach to economic behavior, predicated on a consideration of whole human beings within social, political, and
institutional context--an approach more in keeping with the responsibilities of lawyers and law teachers than more limited approaches
to economic behavior.
8:00 am - 8:10 am Welcoming Remarks: Terry O'Neill, Section Chair (Tulane)
8:10 am - 9:10 am Overview of Socio-Economics and its Relation to Law
Robert Ashford (Syracuse), Roger Dennis (Provost - Rutgers Camden),
Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), Richard Hattwick (Economics, Western Illinois and
Editor, Journal of Socio-Economics)
9:15 am - 10:30 am The Moral Dimensions of Economic Behavior
Rev. Dr. Virgil Wood (Pond Street Baptist Church, Providence, RI):
"The Beloved Economy"
William Lovett (Tulane): "Morality and Economics: Pareto, Rawls or IMF Fundamentals"
Commentator: Richard Hattwick (Economics, Western Illinois
and Editor, Journal of Journal of Socio-Economics)
10:45 am - 12:00 pm Concurrent Sessions
1. Feminism and Economics: Terry O'Neill (Tulane),
Neil Buchanan (Economics, Wisconsin-Milwaukee),
Margaret Oppenheimer (Economics, DePaul)
Diana Strassmann (Economics, Rice), Claire Dickerson (St. Johns)
2. Binary Economics - Moderator: Robert Ashford (Syracuse)
Anthony E. Cook (Georgetown), Mary Burke (Economics, Florida State),
Senator Mike Gravel (Alaska), Timothy Canova (New Mexico),
Stephen Kane (Kane Associates), Donald Kemner (Philadelphia II)
A. Allan Schmidt (Economics, Michigan State),
Keith D. Wilde (Model Analyst, Office of the Chief Actuary,
Canada Pension Plan, Ottowa, Canada),
Rev. Dr. Virgil Wood (Pond Street Baptist Church, Providence R.I.)
Alan Zundel (Nevada-Las Vegas)
3. Applied Socio-Economics - Moderator: Jeffrey Harrison
Peter Kostant (Roger Williams)
"A Socio-Economic Look at the Obligations of Corporate Counsel"
David Wilkins (Harvard):
"Reconceptualizing the Tournament of Lawyers: Seeding, Tracking, and
Information Control in the Internal Labor Markets of Elite Law Firms"
James L. Winokur (Denver): "The Socio-Economics of Equitable Servitudes"
"The Implications for Tax Policy of the Equity vs. Efficiency Trade-off"
Commentators: John Humbach (Pace) and Lynn Stout (Georgetown)
12:15 pm - 1:15 pm Section Luncheon: Senator Mike Gravel (Alaska 1969-1981) :
"The Socio-Economics of Democracy - The Essential Political Conditions"
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm Other Paradigms of Economic Thought
Moderator: Jeffrey Harrison
Tom Ulen and Russell Korobkin (Illinois) :
"Law and Behavioral Economics: Removing the Rationality Assumption"
Ed Rubin (Pennsylvania) : "The New Legal Process"
Lynne Dallas (San Diego) : "The Power Coalition Model"
Commentators: Kenneth Dau-Schmidt (Indiana- Bloomington) and Lynn Stout (Georgetown)
3:45 pm 5:00 pm What's New in The Socio-Economic Approach? - Critique and Commentary
Moderator: Robert Ashford (Syracuse) Anthony Cook (Georgetown)
Senator Mike Gravel (Alaska 1969-1981),
Richard Hattwick (Economics, Western Illinois and Editor, Journal of Socio-Economics),
Nicholas Mercuro (Michigan State), Burnele Powell: (Dean, Missouri, Kansas City),
A. Allan Schmidt (Economics, Michigan State), Virgil Wood (Pont Street Church)
Tulane Conference on
Socio-Economics and Binary Economics
Wednesday, January 6, 1999
"The Future of Socio-Economics" and "Binary Economics as a Distinct Paradigm" were two subjects explored in a day-long
conference sponsored by teachers of member and fee-paid schools of the AALS Section on Socio-Economics and members of the
Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, and is facilitated with generous assistance and hospitality of the Tulane University
School of Law.
Participants include Robert Ashford (Law, Syracuse), ,Paul Brietzke (Valparaiso), Lynne Dallas (Law, San Diego), Kenneth
Dau-Schmidt (Indiana, Bloomington), Mike Gravel (former U.S. Senator), Jeffrey Harrison (Law and Economics, Florida), Richard
Hattwick (Economics, Western Illinois) and Editor of the Journal of Socio-Economics), Cheryl Hanna (Vermont Law School), John
Humbach (Pace), Peter Kostant (Roger Williams), Donald Kemner (Philadelphia II), Jeff Lewin (Widner), Bill Lovett (Tulane
University), Russell Korobkin (University of Illinois), Maria Isabel Medina (Loyola, New Orleans), Nicholas Mercuro (Michigan State
University), Erin Ann O'Hara George Mason), Terry O'Neill (Law, Tulane), Dan Posin (Tulane University), Edward Rubin
(Pennsylvania), A. Alan Schmid (Economics, Michigan State University) , Jeffrey Stake (Indiana, Bloomington), Jeffrey Thomas
(Missouri - Kansas City), Tom Ulen (Law and Economics, Illinois), Keith D. Wilde (Model Analyst, Office of the Chief Actuary,
Canada Pension Plan, Ottowa, Canada) James L. Winokur (Denver), Rev. Dr. Virgil Wood (Pond Street Baptist Church, Providence,
Rhode Island) Alan Zundel (Nevada-Las Vegas)
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m THE FUTURE OF SOCIO-ECONOMICS
This program will consider the history, development, and future of socio-economics as an approach to understanding economic
behavior. Starting with the definition of socio-economics, participants presented papers and commentary revealing the relevance of
the socio-economic approach to their research, teaching and service. A number of proposals for future socio-economic research and
organizational activities were advanced. Preliminary plans for an even bigger conference at Georgetown University were discussed.
1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. BINARY ECONOMICS AS A DISTINCT PARADIGM
Binary economics, first postulated by Louis Kelso, challenges the conventional economics by maintaining that the distribution of
capital ownership has a substantial positive relationship to efficiency and growth that is not a function of productivity or earnings
redistribution as those terms are generally understood by lawyers, economists, and other social scientists. Starting with Adam Smith,
economists comprehend the value of capital as a function of (1) the productivity of labor and the willingness of a laborer to work at
various tasks at various rates, (2) the supply of capital, (3) the interest rate on money, (4) transactions costs, including taxes, and (5)
various other forms of state intervention, but not as an independent function of the distribution of capital ownership. Thus, the binary
approach offers a positive alternative to conventional thinking and new choices regarding efficiency, growth and distribution in a wide
array of disciplines and legal contexts that are beyond the scope of conventional economic approaches including neoclassical,
Keynesian, monetarist, and institutionalist. The binary perspective based on the independent, efficiency enhancing distributive power
of capital, (which is not based on increased productivity or on growth theories related to technological change, human capital, or social
surplus) is new in the history of human thought. In the past, binary economics has been confused with various forms of socialism,
the social credit movement, under-
consumptionist and populist economics; but this confusion results from trying to understand binary economics from conventional
perspectives. Increasingly scholars have come to recognize the need to understand new ideas in their own terms (i.e., as a distinct
paradigm) before subjecting them to conventional analysis based on the very assumptions that have been called into question. Socio-
economists in particular have come to champion this "paradigm-conscious" approach, and have come to see the value of exploring
binary economics as a distinct paradigm.