Video - Conference 'The Code of Capital' by Professor Katharina Pistor

Here is the conference "The Code of Capital" by Prof. Katharina Pistor (Columbia University) as part of the lecture series 2023-2024 "Origins and Structures of Global Economic Governance".

Speaker's Biography




Capital is the defining feature of modern economies, yet most people have no idea where it actually comes from. What is it, exactly, that transforms mere wealth into an asset that automatically creates more wealth? The Code of Capital explains how capital is created behind closed doors in the offices of private attorneys, and why this little-known fact is one of the biggest reasons for the widening wealth gap between the holders of capital and everybody else. The book suggests that the law selectively “codes” certain assets, endowing them with the capacity to protect and produce private wealth. With the right legal coding, any object, claim, or idea can be turned into capital—and lawyers are the keepers of the code. It describes how they pick and choose among different legal systems and legal devices for the ones that best serve their clients’ needs, and how techniques that were first perfected centuries ago to code landholdings as capital are being used today to code stocks, bonds, ideas, and even expectations—assets that exist only in law.

This content has been updated on 21 March 2024 at 10 h 31 min.