Author(s)Friedman, Lawrence M.
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AbstractExploring the insight of the butterfly effect from chaos theory, this article shows how technological transformation influences legal change. The argument is developed from a sociological and a historical perspective, comparing and contrasting social customs since the seventeenth century until today and showing the transformation of criminal offenses. In societies with a strict moral code, adultery, fornication, and sodomy were sexual crimes, even if victimless. After the sexual revolution, these conducts are no longer criminal. Explaining this phenomenon, the article identifies the change of attitude towards human nudity as an important factor and considers this change of legal culture to be a consequence of technological innovations related to personal hygiene, public health, and cleanliness. The taboo against nudity persisted because bathing was not considered healthy and there were no separate bathrooms in residences until the end of the nineteenth century. Examining nudism, the possibility of divorce and human rights protection, the article emphasizes the role of technology for the cultural revolution, and of culture for legal change. Another interesting example of the relationship between law and technology comes from the development of the automobile industry and the emergence of a series of laws to regulate exhaustively individual transportation. Moreover, the invention of antibiotics altered the expectation of the sick individuals who expect to be cured and, as a consequence, affected also the practice of torts and civil liability. The flap of wings of various butterflies led to the current setting.
(Revista) ISSN 2318-8081