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BoilerplateThe Fine Print, Vanishing Rights, and the Rule of Law$
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Margaret Jane Radin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155333

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155333.001.0001

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Normative Degradation

Normative Degradation

Deleting Rights without Consent in the Name of Contract

(p.19) Chapter Two Normative Degradation

Margaret Jane Radin

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the normative degradation caused by the apparent lack of consent to boilerplate. It first considers the varieties of nonconsent to which consent is contrasted, including coercion and its related conceptions of force and duress; fraud, with its allied notions of misrepresentation and deception; and sheer ignorance. It then discusses problematic consent, focusing on situations involving “information asymmetry” and heuristic biases. It also explores strategies of assimilating World B to consent, with particular emphasis on the devolution of voluntary agreement. The chapter shows that consent is problematic even when recipients click a box that says “I agree,” because it remains unclear what they could actually be agreeing to.

Keywords:   normative degradation, consent, boilerplate, nonconsent, coercion, sheer ignorance, information asymmetry, heuristic biases, voluntary agreement, problematic consent

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