In this fascinating discussion, first aired on December 13th, 2021, Professor Katharina Pistor highlights the various ways that debt, complex financial products, and other assets are selectively coded to protect and reproduce private wealth—and the malleability of the legal system, that can be redesigned, and repurposed–by well paid lawyers. Katharina discusses the recent trend to create environmental financial assets-and highlights what she sees as a crucial, perennial, question: who will bear any financial losses (associated with climate change investments). Katharina also shares some ideas on we might create a financial system that would be more socially, environmentally and financially equitable.
Katharina Pistor is the Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law and director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia Law School. A leading scholar and writer on corporate governance, money and finance, property rights, and comparative law and legal institutions, Pistor’s most recent book, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality, examines how assets such as land, private debt, business organizations, or knowledge are transformed into capital through contract law, property rights, collateral law, and trust, corporate, and bankruptcy law. The Code of Capital was named one of the best books of 2019 by the Financial Times and Business Insider.