The future has an ancient heart, as Galgano proves in his book on lex mercatoria, "the law of merchants". This history of commercial law, which is updated until the present day, describes the deep relationship linking knowledge of the past, interpretation of the present, and preparation for the future. Emphasis is placed on the absolutely original nature of lex mercatoria, which differentiates it from the normative regulation of all other types of social relationships. Indeed, laws governing commercial relationships contributed to the birth of the merchant class. Rules of commerce thus crossed political boundaries, becoming professional guidelines for the merchant class and spreading to wherever markets operated. In an analogous manner, today, due to growing market internationalisation and increasingly intense transnational circulation of wealth, there is a new lex mercatoria - created by uniform contract patterns required by large corporations - characterised by the same universal vocation. The new law, like the old, is bound to prevail in a homogenous way, across national boundaries and despite state authority, over the entire world market. The precise historical analysis of political and economic reality and the clear, trenchant style make this book a useful tool for readers interested in understanding the mechanisms of the global economy.
Francesco Galgano teaches Civil Law at the University of Bologna.