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What if librarians were charged with coming up with the next search engine? Would the legal infrastructure in place today support, complicate, or even hinder their efforts? Would the American Library Association be of help? Would they be able to do it fairly, allowing open access to others?

This compelling thought experiment closed this week’s EconTalk episode with University of Southern California professor of law and economics Gillian Hadfield. Hadfield argues that the US legal structure, while well-suited to the 2oth century, is in need of an update. She has suggestions for this process, which host Russ Roberts says suffer a marketing problem. Can you help?

1. Why do we need to “reinvent the law,” according to Hadfield, and what does she suggest such a reinvention might entail?

2. What is “super-regulation” and how might this allow regulatory regimes to be more innovative? Why does Roberts suggest that this idea has a marketing problem? Do you think this problem is surmountable? Why or why not?

3. How do “certification regimes” (such as for Kosher food and organic products) differ from Hadfield’s “super-regulatory” structure? Which would be better equipped to manage the future of autonomous vehicles, and why? (You may wish to revisit the recent episode with Benedict Evans for inspiration.)

4. Why does Hadfield assert that the US legal infrastructure would be better served if the legal profession were structured more like the medical profession? To what extent do you agree, and why? (Another hint: You may wish to revisit Roberts’s conversation with Christy Ford Chapin on the role of the American Medical Association in the evolution of the American health care system…)