An almost maniacal commitment to cost, comfort and convenience has eaten into the infrastructure of collective institutional life. Its capacity to generate life, liberty and happiness is being white-anted by this triptych of values at the heart of the idea of consumer welfare. Formal law over time entrenches institutions and interpretative habits that lock in this developmental orientation. Thus, even if value-commitments were to shift rapidly towards a more holistic and sustainable conception of thriving, the underlying legal infrastructure of collective institutional life embeds path dependency and preserves the ‘drag’ of inbuilt commitments to ecologically damaging ways of prioritising cost, comfort and convenience. The early days of the so-called sharing economy provide a fascinating window into the possibilities of (and constraints upon) moving away from this extractive trajectory and opening up possibilities for more regenerative pathways. The project clarifies tracks the links between formal-legal instrumentalism and the presence of pluralistic, collective forms of lawful life – a new kind of civic law, neither private nor public, that braids together cities, local economies and bioregions into fractal patterns of translocal linkages.
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