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Credit, Labour and Tenants Law -
Research Agenda to develop Principles for a European Contract Regulattion (EuSoCo)
Employment, rent and consumer needs belong together both financially and structurally

· Representatives of academic disciplines and their institutions working in the three disciplines associated with social relationships based on long-term obligations are neither linked together nor tied to general civil law dogma. Instead of demanding more social responsibility in European approaches to the subject, and more “social lubrication” modelled on German legal criticism at the end of the 19th century, a real and structurally new approach would be to abstract the level of social concern achieved in relation to the relationships based on long-term obligations referred to above, and present them as the alternative basis for a modern, forward-looking civil law in a society constructed around social cohesion.

· Employment, rent and credit are far from exceptional phenomena in contract law; in economic terms they operate as basic models. Economically, they represent the three forms of capital, human capital, real capital and money capital, which produce the celebrated three forms of return: wages, rents and interest, all of which are said to be guided by the profit principle. This is reflected in the law in that all three relationships, especially in the German legal tradition, are recognised as relationships based on hire: hire of services, hire of goods and hire of money. Under Roman law, there was the locatio conductio (operarum et rei) and it was recognised that these contractual relationships contained human elements of life-span which need particular consideration. (cf D.19.2.38 pr (Paulus)).

· Credit was promoted at the end of the 19th century to the status of a social long-term relationship based on obligations. It began to penetrate material and human capital at the same time. The tenant of a home became a homeowner (without ownership, his rental interest turning into loan interest and his landlord into a bank); the employee became self-employed or “Me Ltd”, earning his living through the use of credit and substituting dependence on the employer with dependence on indebtedness. Credit also transformed the purchase agreement through consumer credit, by deflecting all consumer problems onto the relationship with the lender, who became the true consumer partner.

· All social achievements in employment and landlord and tenant law must therefore tend to be relevant to the law of credit, because otherwise, alone, the modern credit society will inevitably lead to a shift in legal structures towards the removal of social rights. In the new independence, in the Anglo-American mortgage market and in overindebtedness, debt recovery practices and usury, it is already apparent that credit has become the engine of impoverishment, a role formerly the preserve of the exploitation of labour and profiteering landlords.

· Before the representatives of these disciplines can develop proposals for a European civil law, they must first work together to set unified principles of long-term social relationships based on obligations, going beyond the limits of their own areas of legal specialism.

ID: 36988
Author(s): iff
Publication date: 10/03/06

Created: 13/03/06. Last changed: 13/03/06.
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