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Joseph E. Stiglitz: "What has become of the rule of law in the US?" [View All]

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Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-06-10 12:05 PM
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Joseph E. Stiglitz: "What has become of the rule of law in the US?"
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Foreclosures and Banks' Debt to Society
Rewritten bankruptcy provisions reduce indebted homeowners to servitude. What has become of the rule of law in the US?
by Joseph E. Stiglitz
November 6, 2010

The mortgage debacle in the United States has raised deep questions about "the rule of law", the universally accepted hallmark of an advanced, civilized society. The rule of law is supposed to protect the weak against the strong, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly. In America, in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, it has done neither.

Part of the rule of law is security of property rights - if you owe money on your house, for example, the bank can't simply take it away without following the prescribed legal process. But in recent weeks and months, Americans have seen several instances in which individuals have been dispossessed of their houses even when they have no debts.

To some banks, this is just collateral damage: millions of Americans - in addition to the estimated 4 million in 2008 and 2009 - still have to be thrown out of their homes. Indeed, the pace of foreclosures would be set to increase - were it not for government intervention. The procedural shortcuts, incomplete documentation and rampant fraud that accompanied banks' rush to generate millions of bad loans during the housing bubble has, however, complicated the process of cleaning up the ensuing mess.

To many bankers, these are just details to be overlooked. Most people evicted from their homes have not been paying their mortgages, and, in most cases, those who are throwing them out have rightful claims. But Americans are not supposed to believe in justice on average. We don't say that most people imprisoned for life committed a crime worthy of that sentence. The US justice system demands more, and we have imposed procedural safeguards to meet these demands.

Growing inequality, combined with a flawed system of campaign finance, risks turning America's legal system into a travesty of justice. Some may still call it the "rule of law", but it would not be a rule of law that protects the weak against the powerful. Rather, it would enable the powerful to exploit the weak.

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  -Joseph E. Stiglitz: "What has become of the rule of law in the US?" Better Believe It  Nov-06-10 12:05 PM   #0 
  - The rule of law is gone. Get used to it.  Denninmi   Nov-06-10 12:08 PM   #1 
  - The golden rule  txlibdem   Nov-07-10 07:23 AM   #29 
  - Laws must be enforced  Goldstein1984   Nov-06-10 12:09 PM   #2 
  - It truly is that simple. Hideously unpalatable, but that simple.  Raster   Nov-07-10 11:09 AM   #37 
     - So the revolution is over... we lost and we didn't even know we were fighting  txlibdem   Nov-09-10 02:14 PM   #40 
  - Hint:  ProfessionalLeftist   Nov-06-10 12:13 PM   #3 
  - Crime does pay.  The Backlash Cometh   Nov-06-10 12:13 PM   #4 
  - Still there for the little people -sterner than ever. The system has just become "more like itself"  kenny blankenship   Nov-06-10 12:30 PM   #5 
  - The second casualty of fascism. n/t  Greyhound   Nov-06-10 12:34 PM   #6 
  - K & R  HCE SuiGeneris   Nov-06-10 08:54 PM   #14 
  - It has become inconvenient in the face of political expediency.  Tierra_y_Libertad   Nov-06-10 01:28 PM   #7 
  - Laws, like taxes, are for "little people".  Lyric   Nov-06-10 01:29 PM   #8 
  - Their is no rule of law.  fasttense   Nov-06-10 02:17 PM   #9 
  - fasttense, you nailed it. Thank you.  bertman   Nov-06-10 08:39 PM   #12 
  - K&R  Richard Steele   Nov-07-10 05:31 AM   #26 
  - Prophetic essay at the time  phiddle   Nov-07-10 08:44 AM   #32 
  - When property rights are more important than human rights, shit happens  leftstreet   Nov-06-10 02:24 PM   #10 
  - thank you for posting, Better Believe It. n/t  truedelphi   Nov-06-10 02:44 PM   #11 
  - REC. Thanks for this post, Better Believe It. nt  bertman   Nov-06-10 08:40 PM   #13 
  - I love this guy. Hire him Obama, it's not too late. n/t  Jefferson23   Nov-06-10 09:25 PM   #15 
  - K & R - Must Read n/t  malaise   Nov-06-10 09:48 PM   #16 
  - Undermined by bipartisan consensus.  Karmadillo   Nov-06-10 09:53 PM   #17 
  - Declining empires do this  nadinbrzezinski   Nov-06-10 09:55 PM   #18 
  - Excellent question from one of the economists that was ignored by this Administration.  BrklynLiberal   Nov-06-10 11:21 PM   #19 
  - Another myth  Zanzobar   Nov-06-10 11:42 PM   #20 
  - the private debt of Wall St. megabanks has become the public debt of American taxpayers, via TARP  amborin   Nov-07-10 01:05 AM   #21 
  - "Oh, You Thought We'd Forget The Felonies? Nope."  phasma ex machina   Nov-07-10 01:14 AM   #22 
  - K & R. n/t  chill_wind   Nov-07-10 01:41 AM   #23 
  - K&R'd multiple exclamation points.  snot   Nov-07-10 01:47 AM   #24 
  - Since Bush v Gore  Enthusiast   Nov-07-10 05:27 AM   #25 
  - More doom and gloom  treestar   Nov-07-10 05:47 AM   #27 
  - are you sleeping?  datasuspect   Nov-07-10 11:50 AM   #39 
  - The rule is "Money talks, everything else walks"  hobbit709   Nov-07-10 05:49 AM   #28 
  - The nation cannot afford both rights for the little people AND obscene profits for the wealthy  txlibdem   Nov-07-10 07:43 AM   #30 
  - Are DOJ plants from the Bush Admin sabotaging the DOJ?  Maineman   Nov-07-10 08:01 AM   #31 
  - Long gone  laughingliberal   Nov-07-10 09:15 AM   #33 
  - There is a rule of law all right, but it's selective.  ananda   Nov-07-10 10:00 AM   #34 
  - I was just touring East Berlin and the Wall..what is left of it &Berlin's Topography of Terror  flyarm   Nov-07-10 10:05 AM   #35 
  - Rule of law = a quaint, antiquated notion that ordinary people  cornermouse   Nov-07-10 10:56 AM   #36 
  - Might is Right  felix_numinous   Nov-07-10 11:47 AM   #38 

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