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In this book,Richard A. Posner applies economic theory to four areas of interest to students of social and legal institutions - the theory of justice, primitive and ancient social and legal institutions, the law and economics of privacy and reputation, and the law and economics of racial discrimination. The book is designed to display the power of economics to organize and illuminate diverse fields in the study of nonmarket behavior and institutions. A central theme is the importance of uncertainty to an understanding of social and legal institutions. Another major theme is that the logic of the law, in many ways but not all, appears to be an economic one; that judges, for example, in interpreting the common law, act as if they were trying to maximize economic welfare.