The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Professor Christine A. Desan’s recently published book, Making Money: Coin, Currency, and the Coming of Capitalism.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 12:00 noon.
Harvard Law School, Langdell Caspersen Room. (Directions).
Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.
Free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.
Professor Desan is Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law. She teaches about the international monetary system, the constitutional law of money, constitutional history, political economy, and legal theory. She is the co-founder of Harvard’s Program on the Study of Capitalism, an interdisciplinary project that brings together classes, resources, research funds, and advising aimed at exploring that topic. With its co-director, Prof. Sven Beckert (History), she has taught the Program’s anchoring research seminar, the Workshop on the Political Economy of Modern Capitalism, since 2005.
“Money travels the modern world in disguise. It looks like a convention of human exchange – a commodity like gold or a medium like language. But its history reveals that money is a very different matter. It is an institution engineered by political communities to mark and mobilize resources. As societies change the way they create money, they change the market itself – along with the rules that structure it, the politics and ideas that shape it, and the benefits that flow from it.
One particularly dramatic transformation in money’s design brought capitalism to England. For centuries, the English government monopolized money’s creation. The Crown sold people coin for a fee in exchange for silver and gold. ‘Commodity money’ was a fragile and difficult medium; the first half of the book considers the kinds of exchange and credit it invited, as well as the politics it engendered. Capitalism arrived when the English reinvented money at the end of the 17th century. When it established the Bank of England, the government shared its monopoly over money creation for the first time with private investors, institutionalizing their self-interest as the pump that would produce the money supply. The second half of the book considers the monetary revolution that brought unprecedented possibilities and problems. The invention of circulating public debt, the breakdown of commodity money, the rise of commercial bank currency, and the coalescence of ideological commitments that came to be identified with the Gold Standard – all contributed to the abundant and unstable medium that is modern money. All flowed as well from a collision between the individual incentives and public claims at the heart of the system. The drama had constitutional dimension: money, as its history reveals, is a mode of governance in a material world. That character undermines claims in economics about money’s neutrality. The monetary design innovated in England would later spread, producing the global architecture of modern money.” — Oxford University Press
Book talk panelists include:
Professor John Coates is the John F. Cogan, Jr. Professor of Law and Economics at Harvard Law School, and Research Director of the Program on the Legal Profession. He has testified before Congress and provided consulting services to the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the New York Stock Exchange, and participants in the financial markets, including individuals, mutual funds, hedge funds, investment banks, commercial banks, and private equity funds. In addition, he served as independent distribution consultant for the Securities and Exchange Commission in two “Fair Fund” distributions to investors – including one of the first distributions (of $50 million relating to an enforcement action regarding payment for order flow), and one of the largest distributions (of $306 million relating to enforcement actions regarding market timing and late trading). He has also served as an independent representative of individual and institutional clients of institutional trustees and money managers.
Lauren Coyle is Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and Lecturer in Social Studies in Harvard College, where she also serves on the Board of Academic Advisers. She received a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2014 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2008. Most recently, she was a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency research fellow, as well as Dorothy Porter & Charles Harris Wesley Fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute for African and African American Research in the Hutchins Center at Harvard.
Professor Duncan Kennedy is the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School. He was a founding member of the Critical Legal Studies movement. Kennedy received an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College in 1964 and in 1970 earned an LL.B. from Yale Law School. After completing a clerkship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, Kennedy joined the Harvard Law School faculty in 1971 as an Assistant Professor, becoming a full Professor in 1976. He has taught contracts, torts, property, trusts, the history of legal thought, low income housing law and policy, Israel/Palestine legal issues, the globalization of law and legal thought, and the politics of private law. His publications have contributed to legal and social theory, the history of legal thought, legal semiotics, law and economics, contract law, and legal education.
Sir Paul Tucker is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business School. He was Deputy Governor at the Bank of England from 2009 to October 2013, having joined the Bank in 1980. He was a member of each of the Bank of England’s statutory policy committees: the Monetary Policy Committee, Financial Policy Committee (vice chair), Prudential Regulatory Authority Board (vice chair), as well as of the Court of Directors. Internationally, he was a member of the steering committee of the G20 Financial Stability Board, and chaired its Committee on the Resolution of Cross-Border Banks in order to solve the “too big to fail” problem. He was a member of the board of directors of the Bank for International Settlements, and was chair of the Basel Committee for Payment and Settlement Systems from April 2012. He is a Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, and a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation.