The Illusion of Law: The Legitimating Schemas of Modern Policy and Corporate Law

This Article is about some of the schemas and scripts that form and define our lives. It is about the knowledge structures that shape how we view the world and how we understand the limitless information with which we are always confronted. This Article is also about the “evolution of ideas” underlying corporate law and all of modern policymaking. It is about the ways in which schemas and scripts have influenced how policy theorists, policymakers, lawyers, and many others (particularly in the West) understand and approach policymaking generally and corporate law specifically. It is about both the invisibility and blinding effect of those schemas. It is about the battle over those schemas and the prizes of victory. And, finally, it is about how the now-dominant schemas render us the “unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.” This Article takes as its starting point the notion that human behavior is influenced by features in our environment, and within us, of which we are largely unaware – our “situation.” Our situation is not fixed; it is both malleable and, more importantly, manipulable. Some of the most important features of our interior situation are knowledge structures – the categories, schemas, and scripts through which we interpret and respond to the world around us. Insofar as the situation affects our behavior, there is immense value in influencing it. This opportunity results in a significant, largely unseen, competition over our conceptions of the world, of the groups and institutions within it, and of ourselves. We argue that our positive and normative understandings of all of law and policymaking are in fact subject to just that sort of competition. Our hypothesis is that large commercial interests are best suited to succeed in this competition over our situation, and that therefore our laws and policies are biased in their favor.