Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Information

46 Law & Contemp. Probs. 169 (1983)


This symposium reveals an unexpected irony: The very innovations designed to deal with one type of uncertainty-economic-have themselves produced another type of uncertainty-that associated with resolving disputes. This new uncertainty sounds a discordant note in the traditional refrain that contracts are legal devices for allocating risks between parties. As an afterword, this article draws together evidence from the symposium and from history to emphasize that contract is not the ideal device for allocating risks at the very time that allocation is most desired-when uncertainty is greatest. The lesson can be put in starker terms: Contract is a legal relationship and therefore too rigid for parties facing significant uncertainty.


Reprinted with permission of Law and Contemporary Problems.

Included in

Contracts Commons



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