You are viewing an obsolete version of the DU website which is no longer supported by the Administrators. Visit The New DU.
Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

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

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
Better Believe It Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-06-10 12:05 PM
Original message
Joseph E. Stiglitz: "What has become of the rule of law in the US?"
Advertisements [?]
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.


Read the full article at:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/11/06-1
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC