A longing for justice fueled both the rise and the collapse of socialism: justice for the proletarians of all countries, for wage earners without property or power, and for ordinary men and women. But although their battle hymn, The Internationale, sang of law and human rights, early socialists did not see law as a useful instrument for producing justice. Formal legal rules could ensure the reciprocity of market exchanges and the equal treatment of disembodied and fictitious participants in an abstract legal process, they thought. However, because real people differ greatly in wealth, abilities, and powers, their equal treatment under formal rules would produce great inequality in practice. Moreover, because every ruling class controls the writing of the statute books and thus can fashion legislation ...

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