What is it that transforms a simple object, an idea, or a promise to pay into an asset that creates wealth? The source code for capital is law, a social resource that is used to create private wealth. By coding critical legal attributes onto the assets of their clients, attorneys for well-paying clients ensure that they are equipped with stronger and more durable rights that can be defended against anybody. The coding techniques for placing simple assets on legal steroids were first developed for land. Today, intellectual property rights and financial assets make up the bulk of private wealth, assets that owe their very existence to the law. Mitigating inequality will therefore require targeting the source code of capital.
Katharina Pistor is the Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches, corporations, law and development and law and finance in theory and practice. Her most recent book, "The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality” was first published in English by Princeton UP in 2019. She loves music, new and old, and plays the harpsichord.
Wednesday, 08 September 2021
15:00 - 15:45 BST
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