Calabresi and Mill: bilateralism, moral externalities and value pluralism


The paper asks four questions: (1) Is the bilateralism of law and economics praised by Calabresi a form of “reflective equilibrium”? (2) Is Mill’s harm principle compatible with “third-party moral costs”? (3) How are we to distinguish the moral externalities that are to be given weight from those that are not? (4) How are we to adjudicate between welfare and equality, between a larger but less equal pie and a smaller but more equal one? The first question has a positive answer and the second a negative one, whereas the last two do not have straightforward answers if we subscribe to value pluralism.