Saul Levmore, "Intermediation and Intervention"

What can law do well? It tries to “intervene” in order to control antisocial behavior, to enforce promises, and to prevent violence. But it is also called on to “intermediate” so that citizens need not confront one another directly and need not even control themselves. It solves collective action problems, to be sure, but in many cases these problems are small compared to the quest for control over one’s future self. If we can identify what it is we want law to do, rather than how we market its ever-expanding reach, we might be better at designing laws. In such diverse areas as climate change, obesity control, and neighborly (tort) disputes, this CBI Lecture aims to show that some of the most important tools of legal an