Historical Perspectives

Larry Summers' Attempt to Rewrite Cramdown History


Larry Summers has a very interesting book review of Atif Mian and Amir Sufi's book House of Debt in the Financial Times. What's particularly interesting about the book review is not so much what Summers has to say about Mian and Sufi, as his attempt to rewrite history. Summers is trying to cast himself as having been on the right (but losing) side of the cramdown debate.


Book Review: Jennifer Taub's Other People's Houses (Highly Recommended)


I just read Jennifer Taub's outstanding book Other People's Houses, which is a history of mortgage deregulation and the financial crisis.  The book makes a nice compliment to Kathleen Engel and Patricia McCoy's fantastic The Subprime Virus.


1924 and today


History can sometimes provide a fresh perspective on current events. My years of observations at UNCITRAL led me to wonder about how working methods in this international organization compare to those of similar (some would say sister) organizations -- UNIDROIT and the Hague Conference on Private International Law.


American Hustle


If you want to understand credit and its abuses, you have to delve into the human heart, in all its weakness and strength, and literature and film are powerful ways to do so.  In this observation, I join the growing backlash (see, for example, here and


Usury and the Loan Shark Myth


Consumer financial education, disclosure, and defaults all dispensed with in my prior posts, shall we move on to “substantive” regulation, dare I even say “usury”?


Usury Laws Are Dead. Long Live the New Usury Law. The CFPB's Ability to Repay Mortgage Rule


The CFPB has come out with its long awaited qualified
mortgage (QM) rulemaking
under Title XIV of the Dodd-Frank Act.  The QM rulemaking is by far the most important
CFPB action to date and will play a crucial role in determining the shape of
the US housing finance market going forward. The QM rulemaking also rep