This essay explicates Professor Boris Kozolchyk’s magnum opus, Comparative Commercial Contracts, as a vehicle for exploring the practical and philosophical foundations for effective efforts to promote international legal harmonization in private law. Its central thesis is that good practices are founded on the philosophical premises embedded in Kozolchyk’s work, which in turn are drawn from Kozolchyk’s practical experience. This experience yields a vision of practices reflecting those of the archetypal merchant, a bonus vir (a good man or person), and the conception of commercial justice as fairness and reasonableness made possible by practical guidance rooted in requirements of the bonus vir. The essay locates this insight in longstanding debate about the morality of market society, one that has been given new salience as protectionist forces now enjoy resurgence in response to dislocations brought about by the most recent wave of globalization. The essay author’s own experience as a former member of the Juridical Committee of the Organization of American States is brought to bear to supplement a study of the practical experience that gave rise to Kozolchyk’s central insights from a career of engaged practical scholarship, in part as Director of The National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade (NLCIFT), affiliated with the University of Arizona College of Law, in which he has played a central role in developing practical instruments for legal harmonization in the Western Hemisphere, especially between the U.S. and the Caribbean Basin countries. Finally, this essay, drawing in part of suggestions in CCC but more significantly on literature concerning the creation and erosion of the social norms supporting trust in economic life, identifies challenges China’s integration in the world economy may pose for commercial law reasoning and practices based on Kozolchyk’s understanding of the bonus vir.
Antonio F. Perez, The Hedgehog, The Fox, and Kozolychyk: The Practical and Philosophical Foundations of Best Practices in Legal Harmonization for Economic Development, 34 ARIZ. J. INT’L & COMP. L. 65 (2016).