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What Is Economic Law?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Economic law typically refers to systems of legal statutes that largely govern the establishment of various commercial and economic practices. These laws are usually created by the governing bodies of a particular country, and can include different policies that regulate the ways in which business can be conducted within a country. There are also international laws frequently established by one country, or a body of countries together, that determine the different ways in which commercial deals and transactions can occur between international companies. Economic law can be fairly flexible or quite rigid, depending on the economic theory governing a particular nation.

Often used synonymously with business or commercial law, economic law is not always its own particular discipline. This means that certain criminal and civil laws can govern business practices within a country, while no specific set of “economic laws” are necessarily created. The term “economic law” is, therefore, somewhat looser in meaning than “civil” or “criminal” law since the exact nature of the statutes created under this discipline can vary. Some countries may also have a number of different economic and commercial codes, depending on the division of powers between federal and regional governments within a country.

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The purpose of economic law is typically to set regulations and standards regarding what are acceptable types of behavior for businesses or other commercial ventures within a country. These types of internal laws are often focused on “microeconomics” and regulating the ways in which businesses and consumers interact and engage in commerce with each other. There are also international forms of economic law, which are more concerned with “macroeconomics” and regulating the ways in which different countries can engage in trade. Such regulations may be established by a single country, controlling the way in which businesses within it can deal with companies and individuals outside of it, or by multiple countries coming to an agreement.

Much like other types of laws, the regulations of economic law can vary quite a bit from one country to the next. While criminal acts like murder, theft, and assault are often seen as moralistic absolutes, the ways in which businesses interact can be far more morally ambivalent. The economic system of a country, such as a capitalist or communist economy, usually has a tremendous impact on the way in which economic law is established and upheld within it. One nation’s laws may allow for the establishment of monopolies and the implementation of “public” services by private companies, while another country can forbid monopolization of an industry and provide public services through government sponsorship and management.

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