A Brief Historical and Legal Essay on “Economic Constitutions”


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This article explores constitutional regulation as it relates to the foundation of economic relations. The proper norms and divisions of the basic laws (constitutions) of states are analyzed from the historical and legal point of view: the authors develop an idea of “economic constitutions.” This conception is based on the ideas of American and European economists and lawyers, including the works of the Nobel-prize winner James Buchanan, the author of the conception of “constitutional economy.” The analysis of the individual, the most obvious norms of “economic constitutions” is made in their evolution. The common regularities of formation, development, and functioning of “economic constitutions” are researched. “Economic constitutions” are considered as the immanent legal expression of material conditions of life of communities. The research is based on the criteria of the correspondence of “economic constitutions” with the demands of social economic development of state organized communities. The genesis of “economic constitutions” of the USA, France, Germany and other states, for example, Latin American states are researched. Special attention is paid to “economic constitutions” of socialist and postsocialist states, especially to the “economic constitution” of the Russian Federation. The peculiarities in the development of the newest “economic constitutions” based on the basic laws of Finland and Switzerland are revealed. The authors develop an idea that “economic constitutions” are not limited to the questions of the influence of a state on an economy and of the determination of the borders of state regulation. Economic rights and freedoms, questions of interrelations of labor and capital, financial system, taxation, etc. are considered as the components of “economic constitutions.” Taken into account is that modern international standards are refused from the secondary role of the social economic rights of mankind. The conclusion is made about the interrelationship of the progress of “economic constitutions” and social economic rights in the information society that are able to ensure the fundamentally new level of a direct democracy in the management of a state.

About the Authors

Igor Levakin
MGIMO University
Russian Federation

Professor, Department of Public Law

76 Vernadskogo Av., Moscow, 119454, Russia

Daria Trifonova
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Postgraduate Student, Faculty of Law

1 Leninskie Gory, Bldg. 13–14, GSP-1, Moscow, 119991


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Supplementary files

For citation: Levakin I., Trifonova D. A Brief Historical and Legal Essay on “Economic Constitutions”. Russian Law Journal. 2018;6(3):172-199. https://doi.org/10.17589/2309-8678-2018-6-3-172-199

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