Two of Jhering's ideas are crucial to understanding the problems besetting the merger of East and West Germany. They are (a) the centrality of the notion of private property as the foundation, not only of property rights, but of personal rights as well; and (b) his notion of rechtsgefühl, translated clumsily as a feeling of legal right, but implying the pain and irritation a person feels when he has been put upon. [FN8] It is my thesis that a fundamental difference between the way these two concepts are viewed in the former East and West Germanies is a sword in the bed, presenting a fierce obstacle to the union that both desire.
Joseph M. McLaughlin,
The Unification of Germany: What Would Jhering Say?,
17 Fordham Int'l L.J. 277
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol17/iss2/1