Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law

Article Title

The New Lex Mercatoria


We live in a post-industrial era. We learn this from sociologists who demonstrate it by showing the index of the number of industrial employees is lower than that of service employees, thus, a transition from an industrial to a post-industrial era. The United States was the first to pass this point in 1956, while Italy passed it in 1982. Post-industrial society is not just a society of automation. The prefix "post" implies other aspects as well. Besides an industrial society there is also a financial society. What is new is not only how the goods are produced (with machines controlled by computers and not people) but also what is produced. The word "product", originally used to designate material goods, has now become a metaphor used to indicate "financial products". In this era of finance, contractual techniques are substituted for industrial technology.