Functions and Role of Law in Business and Society
Melvin describes law “a body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by controlling authority, and having a legal binding force” (2011, p. 4). In other words, law is a set of rules that dictate acceptable actions and behavior, which are created and upheld by an authority, which carries consequences for disobedience. There are many categories of law including criminal law, civil law, substantive law, procedural law, public law, and private law (Melvin, 2011). The categories are not mutually exclusive, and each can come into use depending on the legal situation at hand. This paper will focus on the functions and role of law in business and society.
Functions and Purpose
The functions and purpose of law have changed as the needs of society changed. Melvin describes the origin of laws as rules that tribal chiefs created in order exert control with little regard for individual rights (2011). As time progressed, and the needs of society changed, lawmakers began to consider the needs of society. In the past century, lawmakers started implementing laws that promote equality (Melvin, 2011). In the past century in the United States many laws were passed that created equal opportunities. Women were given the right to vote in 1920. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act protected employees from discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prevented discrimination against individuals with physical or mental disabilities. The law today, especially in the United States, serves not only to protect citizens, but also to promote the equal treatment of citizens.
In Society and Business
George (2011) believes that the “obligations and purposes of law and government are to protect the public health, safety, and morals, and to advance general welfare – including, preeminently, protecting people’s fundamentals right and basic liberties” (p. 22). The idea that the law serves to protect citizens and promote freedoms is congruent with Melvin’s description and seems to be a commonly agreed upon idea. This idea is relevant to laws governing businesses as well as general societal laws. In order to prevent negative actions and promote positive actions, people have to understand that there will be consequences for negative actions. It is also important for the law to be rigid yet malleable. These qualities reinforce the importance of following the laws, but also allow the law to change to accommodate the needs of the citizens. Without change, laws would become outdated and would not serve a purpose. In order for a society to grow and continue to operate peaceably, the laws have to expand continue to ban negative actions and promote freedoms that the previous generation of lawmakers might not have encountered.
I have worked for my current employer, TIME Financial Services, for almost six years. TIME Financial Services is a life insurance general agency. We help financial advisors sell life insurance to