Past Event

Book Talk & Discussion: Katharina Pistor's 'The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality'

January 13, 2021
8:30 PM - 10:00 PM



Time: 8:30 - 10:00 PM (Beijing) | 7:30 - 9:00 AM (New York)

Join us on January 13 for a virtual book talk and discussion of The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality, written by Columbia Law School Professor Katharina Pistor.

This event will feature a conversation between Professor Pistor and Professor Xin DAI of Peking University Law School on how the law shapes the distribution of wealth.

The event is jointly organized by Columbia Global Centers | Beijing and Princeton University Press.


About the Book

What is it that transforms a simple object, an idea, or a promise to pay into an asset that creates wealth? Katharina Pistor explains how, behind closed doors in the offices of private attorneys, capital is created—and why this little-known activity is one of the biggest reasons for the widening wealth gap between the holders of capital and everybody else.

A powerful new way of thinking about one of the most pernicious problems of our time, The Code of Capital explores the various ways that debt, complex financial products, and other assets are selectively coded to protect and reproduce private wealth. This provocative book paints a troubling portrait of the pervasive global nature of the code, the people who shape it, and the governments that enforce it.


Katharina Pistor

Katharina Pistor is the Edwin B. Parker Professor of Comparative Law and director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia Law School. Pistor is a leading scholar and writer on corporate governance, money and finance, property rights, and comparative law and legal institutions. She is the author or co-author of nine books. Her most recent book, The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality, examines how assets such as land, private debt, business organizations, or knowledge are transformed into capital through contract law, property rights, collateral law, and trust, corporate, and bankruptcy law. The Code of Capital was named one of the best books of 2019 by the Financial Times and Business Insider. 

Pistor publishes widely in legal and social science journals. In her recent essay “From Territorial to Monetary Sovereignty” in the Journal on Theoretical Inquiries in Law (2017), she argued that the rise of a global money system means a new definition of sovereignty: the control of money. She has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Institutional EconomicsEuropean Business Organization Law ReviewAmerican Journal of Comparative Law, and Columbia Journal for European Law. 


Xin Dai

Xin DAI is an associate professor (with tenure) at Peking University Law School. His research focuses on legal theories, law and society, economic analysis of law, information privacy and Internet law. Professor Dai received his J.S.D from University of Chicago Law School, J.D. from Duke University of Law, and LL.B from Peking University Law School.


  • Event language: English
  • Registration required. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]