YSI-IGLP workshop on The Code of Capital with Katharina Pistor

October 23 2019

CambridgeUnited States


Capital is the defining feature of modern economies, yet most people have no idea where it comes from. What is it 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.
In her recent book, Katharina Pistor argues 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. Professor Pistor 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 workshop, organised together by Finance Law and Economics WG (YSI-INET) and Institute for Global Law and Policy (HLS), aims to gather young and senior scholars in law and in economics that have been engaged with professor Pistor’s work and this book in particular. The workshop is conceived as an open forum for debate of the ideas presented in the book in the general context of relationship between law and new economic thinking. We welcome interventions that focus on these ideas both critically and by building upon them.

Time & Date

Start: October 23 2019

End: October 23 2019


Harvard Law School

, Cambridge
Working groups
  • Finance, Law, and Economics
Project Organizers
YSI Profile Image

Aleksandar Stojanović

For questions, the Project Organizers.