11m empty homes: the meaning of the lack of legal criticism

According to recent news, there are about 11 million empty homes across Europe, while ironically there are also about 4,1 million homeless people in the region.

via The Guardian

The unfairness of this situation seems quite obvious. Yet probably no easy legal fix is at reach. Why? Because many of the most important policies that define the main structures of society tend to be protected by the dominant style of legal analysis (as discussed here) and remain impervious to change. Hardened legal concepts — one could begin with property — repeatedly fail to live up to democratically contrived policy alternatives and to possibilities of development for all.

As there are so many millions of homeless kept away from empty homes across Europe, so there are also many millions of people in Latin America and elsewhere that do not have access to decent basic services, from education and health care to efficient and affordable urban transportation, food security and so on. Hence the recent mass protests. And there are, of course, many groups of entrepreneurs who remain marginalized from access to technology and affordable credit, not to mention the billions of poor across the globe.

These facts point to a clear and simple idea. Legal analysis and judicial action (as well as legal education) should be reshaped: they should be equipped with intellectual and institutional means to transform reality and impart fairness to human existence on the planet.

This is the kind of quest that inspires the members of the “Law, Economy and Society Group” at the University of Brasília.

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