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Vol 23 No 4 April/May 2018

Book of the Month

Cover of Williams, Mortimer and Sunnucks: Executors, Administrators and Probate

Williams, Mortimer and Sunnucks: Executors, Administrators and Probate

Edited by: Alexander Learmonth, Charlotte Ford, Julia Clark, John Ross Martyn
Price: £295.00

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Living Beyond the Law: How People Behave When the Rules Don't Apply

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ISBN13: 9781442231030
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardback
Price: Publication Abandoned

It has long been a commonly shared wisdom that humans need government to bring social order to what would otherwise be a chaotic and dangerous world. But recent research on human nature and human history suggest that governmental law is not the well-spring of social order. Thousands of years ago, early humans on the Serengeti Plain, surrounded by faster, stronger, and bigger predators, had no government or law yet produced the most successful species in the history of Planet Earth. Presumably they found ways to cooperate and survive what was a harsh and forbidding environment. Does modern man retain this same cooperative inclination, or has it atrophied in humans' modern conditions?

Living Beyond the Law mines the amazing natural experiments and accidents of modern human history: shipwrecks, plane crashes, leper colonies, pirate crews, escaped slaves, Gold Rush prospectors, prison uprisings, utopian hippie communes, Nazi concentration camps, and a host of other situations in which modern man has been thrown into a situation beyond the reach of law, to explore the fundamental nature of human beings and how we behave when we don't necessarily have to. Here, Sarah and Paul Robinson explain that in such situations we are not Hobbesian devils, but neither are we selfless angels. Modern individuals naturally incline toward comparative action, even when in the desperate conditions in which their survival is at issue, but that innate cooperative spirit prevails only in the presence of a system to punish serious wrongdoing within the group and only when that punishment is perceived as just. From the leper colony of Molokai to the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, from the 1972 plane crash in the Andes to the Colombian drug wars of Pablo Escobar, history is rife with examples of how people behave when rules of civility collapse. The real stories included in this book, illustrated with insights from psychology, biology, political science, and social science, help to provide a more optimistic picture of human nature. The authors conclude that humans are predisposed to be cooperative - within limits that need to be taken into account when formulating modern criminal law and policy.

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1. What Is Our Nature? What Does Government Do for Us, and to Us?

Part I. Human Rules
2. Cooperation Lepers & Pirates
3. Punishment Drop City & the Utopian Communes
4. Justice 1850s San Francisco & the California Gold Rush
5. Injustice The Attica Uprising & the Batavia Shipwreck
6. Survival The Inuits of King William Land & the Mutineers on Pitcairn Island
7. Subversion Hellships & Prison Camps

Part II. Modern Lessons
8. Credibility America's Prohibition
9. Excess Committing Felony Murder While Asleep in Bed & Life in Prison for an Air-Conditioning Fraud
10. Failure Getting Away with Murder Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
11. Collapse Escobar's Colombia
12. Taking Justice Seriously Five Proposals Epilogue: What Are They Doing Now?

Selected Bibliographies
Other Books by Paul Robinson