n South African Law Journal - Adaptive regulation in the amoral bazaar

Volume 128, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



Changes in science, law and society are shaping new directions for administrative law. The traditional doctrinal framework within which we view how law should regulate government and private economic activity is becoming antiquated. To explain why this is the case, the article outlines the basic premises of prevailing doctrine and its growing shortcomings. Then numerous new developments in our understanding of the social ecologies through which law and regulation are transfused are described. Some implications for the way in which we need to think about future regulation in order to be more effective in this complex world are explored. We are moving from a framework of directive regulation to one that has to become much more adaptive. Examples are used from the world of financial services, but they can be found everywhere in the area of regulation. While this article focuses on understanding markets as evolutionary social ecologies and the consequences for administrative law and regulation, it is equally important to emphasise that these 'amoral bazaars' be grounded on a foundation of moral aspiration and integrity. The article therefore concludes that we ignore at our peril the urgent responsibility of redeveloping a moral framework within which markets should operate.

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