Sociological Perspectives

Evaluating Mandatory Financial Education in Bankruptcy


In 2005, Congress amended bankruptcy law to require individual debtors with primarily consumer debts to complete an "instructional course on personal financial management" to be eligible to receive a discharge of their debts.


Kudos to Jean Braucher and Bob Lawless!


A new study by Credit Slips own Jean Braucher and Bob Lawless (with Dov Cohen) on race and bankruptcy filings received very prominent and well-deserved page A1 coverage in the New York Times.  It's a fabulous study, and it's wonderful to see it getting such great media attention. 


American Capitalism: Profit, But Fairly


Adam Davidson wrote up an interesting apologia for Wall Street in the NY Times last week, which I think is ultimately a call for better regulation, rather than bank-hating.


BROKE: A New Book on Consumer Debt and Bankruptcy


Just in time for New Year's resolutions on 1) reading more, 2) paring back your own debt, and 3) learning more about consumer bankruptcy to help you do your job (if you are a lawyer, judge, or academic, media, etc), the book, Broke: How Debt Bankrupts the Middle Class was released from Stanford University Press.


The Value(s) of Foreclosure Law Reform?


As Alan White reported recently, the Uniform Law Commission in the U.S. has named a committee to consider the need for and feasibility of proposing a uniform foreclosure act and to report back to the ULC by early 2012.


Lies and Denial: the 2012 GOP Strategy


The last 24 hours have witnessed some remarkable historical revisionism on financial regulation coming out of the GOP.

First, we had one of the most bizarre and simply untrue attack ads I've ever seen, courtesy of Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS outfit. The ad calumnies Elizabeth Warren, claiming that first she was responsible for the TARP bailout and then set out to butter up bankers. Is this man on drugs? Rove seems to be confusing Elizabeth Warren with George W. Bush. 


Occupy Wall Street, "Fringe Banking" and Public Options


I happened to walk by Zuccoti Park in Manhattan yesterday, where the Occupy Wall Street protest is centered. I picked up a few pieces of protester literature. I can't say that I was in any way comprehensive in my collection. Some of the literature was just nuts, e.g., a flier blathering about admiralty law usurping the common law and the Trading with the Enemies Act. This flier could just as easily have been found at a Tea Party gathering. It gave new meaning to the term "fringe banking." 


Are Corporations People Too?


The "corporations are people, my friend" line was quite the momement. But as bad as it sounded, Mitt had a theoretical point. People (as well as other corporations) own corporations and people work for corporations.  The problem isn't that there aren't people at the end of the line behind corporations. The problem is that it's a minority of (primarily wealthier)people.  


Bankruptcy Politics and State Bankruptcy


I have a new paper out, Bankrupt Politics and the Politics of Bankruptcy, that examines state bankruptcy proposals and then uses them as a jumping-off point for sketching out a political theory of bankruptcy as a "creditor's armistice," an unstable political bargain, rather than an economic bargain ala Jackson & Baird's "creditor's bargain."  


Prisoners: When it Comes to Debtor-Creditor Issues, They’re Just Like Us


Once or twice a year, students from the University of New Mexico School of Law Clinic visit a women’s prison to provide brief legal services to those incarcerated there. We always assumed most of  inmates’ questions dealt with family law, so my group, the Business and Tax Clinic (the “B & T Clinic”), never went. This year, our Qualified Tax Expert, Professor Pamelya Herndon wanted to attend, and three of our students joined her.