Some posts ago I related the story of my maid. I suggested that perhaps there needs to be a way to enforce contracts in the familial setup. Contracts differ- what is a moral contract is not necessarily legal, social, spiritual, intellectual, economic or indeed any other! What sets apart legal contracts from any of these is the fact that it can be redeemed or reconciled or fought for as a right by a court of law. Which means you can appeal to an authority to dole out punishments and grant to you what is yours.
The problem however is that like we all know a legal contract is not a option in the family. Why? Because it violates moral codes of conduct. It violates the unwritten and unsaid contract of trust. So where does my maid go in such a situation? Can we standardise moral codes and make them legally enforceable? How does one ensure that if this is indeed were possible– it would not be abused? What mechanism would validate a claim made (a claim that someone had violated a moral right) , and how does one juggle tort law and moral law?
Social Policy Research in 1996 came up with this report about legal enforcement in Europe. It divides family into three different sets– individual autonomy, nuclear families and extended families. What interests me about this proposition is that different sets of laws could be made for each– claiming seizure of property then would be a mucky mess of overlapping rights.
This blog entry asks an interesting question at the end. Can state intervention solve the breaking down family structures in an otherwise beneficial free-market lifestyle? My question is this?…. Why do we increasingly blame a globalised lifestyle for a natural dumping of tradition! Maybe smaller families are a better idea if you have a day long job. And if you don’t you are free to adopt any manner of life you may choose to in a truely liberal society. Isn’t that what it is all about? Choices.