The book Law and Society by S. Vago reveals the history of the development of the law and society and their close interaction. The author provides a solid theoretical background to the rise of the law and its impact on the society. He steadily comes to the analysis of the current relationship between the law and society and the role of the law in the contemporary society.
However, some points of the author are hard to agree with. In chapter seven Vago focuses on the relationships between changes in the society and law. The author argues that the law is the instrument of change. However, such a view on the law is quite arguable since the law is not the primary driver of the change but it is rather the consequence of deep socioeconomic changes which force legislators to introduce legal changes.
The author also sticks to the Weberian argument that the legal instrument is limited by conflicting interests. However, the author apparently underestimates the impact of customs and traditions, which also have a considerable impact on the law. The role of customs and traditions can hardly be underestimated in the law, while the author narrows down the law to the issue that emerges as the result of conflicting interests.
Also the author review socialist systems and theories, which are not relevant today but they are rather interesting from the historical perspective. Today, the law is driven by democratic principles and the contemporary law theory borrows little from socialist theories.
The law compels obedience and obligation and imposes sanctions for disobedience to the law. Such a situation may be unfair, when the social inequality and injustice persists. The social inequality provokes the different interpretation of the law and the different application of the law. Hence, emerges the biggest problem of the contemporary society, the problem of social inequality, which the law still fails to resolve, even in democratic countries, such as the US.
In fact, the society is a complex body that is difficult to change. Vago explains such difficulty to change the society by social, cultural, psychological and economic factors that raise the resistance of people to change. Basically, the author holds the reasonable view of the impact of multiple factors that prevent the society from changes and make people resistant to them. For instance, people are unwilling to change the law out of sheer fear of deteriorating their position. At this point, it is possible to refer to the example of rich, who took the leading position in the society and have a considerable impact on the law making process. The rich are unwilling to change the law because they and their property and wealth are fully protected by the law, while any changes, for instance the rise of taxes for the rich, may deteriorate their position and, thus, make the rich resistant to the law. Similarly, the introduction of new taxes can make the middle-class resistant to changes, even if those changes aim at helping the poor to survive or to receive vitally important health care services. Representatives of the middle-class are just anxious of deteriorating their position and the quality of living that makes them resistant to the change.
Thus, Vago grants the broad overview of the law, its impact and relationships with the society.