The last several centuries have been marked first by a tendency toward the use of standards to standardize, and then by the use of standards to differentiate. Both have been built on the legal edifice of the state. More recently, in response to the rapid rise of neoliberalism, standardized differentiation has increased in scope and has become part of a larger Tripartite Standards Regime (TSR) consisting of standards, certifications, and accreditations. Over the last half century, the TSR has grown to cover nearly every aspect of social life. In many ways this new form of governance replaces and transmutes positive law, which is a product of the state, with its market equivalent. Yet, the TSR leaves much to be desired as a form of governance. The recent financial collapse should give us pause to ask whether the path we have constructed for ourselves can lead us to the desired destination.

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