Law & Money
Law & Money
Play
Episode 171
Featuring Katharina Pistor
Leading legal expert Katharina Pistor explains how the law is used to code and construct capital, protecting some assets over others, how the digital code could displace it, and how the use and abuse of the legal code can make the difference between societal cohesion and political revolution.

In Episode 171 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Katharina Pistor, a leading scholar of corporate governance, money & finance, property rights, and comparative law & legal institutions. She’s also a prominent commentator on cryptocurrencies, has testified before Congress about them, and has written papers dealing with the issues of digital statehood and monetary sovereignty. Her latest book, “The Code of Capital,” is a tour de force that explains in captivating detail how the law is used to code and construct capital, protecting some assets over others, how this creates wealth for society, and how its use and abuse can make the difference between societal cohesion and political revolution.

In today’s conversation, you will learn how the law—a powerful tool for social ordering and wealth creation—has been put to work in the service of private consolidation and political control. This leads us to focus on three, interrelated topics:

The first deals with the nature of property and how the legal system and its network of lawyers turn assets into capital by encoding them with certain, key attributes. One of these attributes, convertibility, has been notably expanded in its application over the last thirteen years, as central banks have accepted an ever broader basket of assets as collateral and used their balance sheets to monetize not only government debt, but mortgages, corporate bonds, and stock ETFs.

The second deals with a knock-on effect of the first, namely, the astronomical growth in the market value of Bitcoin. In this context, Bitcoin can be seen as an exogenous response to the erosion of trust and credibility in the conduct of monetary policy by central banks and in response to questions about the integrity of public money. But questions remain about whether or not a private form of money like Bitcoin can replace state-issued fiat money or if monetary sovereignty even exists without territorial sovereignty.

The third and final area of discussion looks at how creatures of the legal code, like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and others, are using that same code to not only control markets but effectively break them and transform the economic space into something that more closely resembles a system of bonded labour.

After listening to today’s episode, you should be better able to understand how the world we live in today came to be, how its code has been altered, and why promises of a frictionless, deterministic future are chimeras; they are designed to divest us of not only our power but of the very agency that makes this experiment in democratic self-governance possible in the first place.

You can access the episode overtime, as well as the transcript and rundown to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

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Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

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Follow Demetri at @Kofinas

Episode Recorded on 12/29/2020

Play
Episode 170
Featuring Demetri Kofinas
Episode 170
Featuring Demetri Kofinas

Katharina Pistor is the Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law at Columbia Law School and a leading scholar and writer on corporate governance, money and finance, property rights, and comparative law and legal institutions. Her most recent book “The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality” (Princeton UP, 2019) was named one of the best books in 2019 by the Financial Times and Business Sider. She has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Institutional Economics, European Business Organization Law Review, American Journal of Comparative Law, and Columbia Journal for European Law. Katharina is also a prominent commentator on cryptocurrency and has testified before Congress on the lack of regulatory oversight of proposed international cryptocurrencies. As the director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation, Pistor directs the center’s work to develop research projects and organize conferences to examine ways in which law shapes global relations and how they, in turn, transform the law.

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Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.



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