Four new books by Vanderbilt Law professors Morgan Ricks, Ganesh Sitaraman, Daniel Sharfstein and Daniel Gervais

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Law-Scholarly Summer Reads E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

May 2017

The Money Problem: Rethinking Financial Regulation

by Morgan Ricks

Years have passed since the world experienced one of the worst financial crises in history, and while countless experts have analyzed it, many central questions remain unanswered. Should money creation be considered a ‘public’ or ‘private’ activity—or both? What do we mean by, and want from, financial stability? What role should regulation play? How would we design our monetary institutions if we could start from scratch?

In The Money Problem, Morgan Ricks addresses all of these questions and more, offering a practical yet elegant blueprint for a modernized system of money and banking—one that, crucially, can be accomplished through incremental changes to the United States’ current system. He brings a critical, missing dimension to the ongoing debates over financial stability policy, arguing that the issue is primarily one of monetary system design. The Money Problem offers a way to mitigate the risk of catastrophic panic in the future, and it will expand the financial reform conversation in the United States and abroad.

Media: National Review | Financial Times | Foreign Affairs | Harvard Law Review


Sitaraman- Crisis of the Middle Class jacketThe Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens Our Republic

by Ganesh Sitaraman

For most of Western history, Sitaraman argues, constitutional thinkers assumed economic inequality was inevitable and inescapable—and they designed governments to prevent class divisions from spilling over into class warfare. The American Constitution is different. Compared to Europe and the ancient world, America was a society of almost unprecedented economic equality, and the founding generation saw this equality as essential for the preservation of America’s republic. Over the next two centuries, generations of Americans fought to sustain the economic preconditions for our constitutional system. But today, with economic and political inequality on the rise, Sitaraman says Americans face a choice: Will we accept rising economic inequality and risk oligarchy or will we rebuild the middle class and reclaim our republic?

The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution is a tour de force of history, philosophy, law, and politics. It makes a compelling case that inequality is more than just a moral or economic problem; it threatens the very core of our constitutional system.

Media: New York Times Book Review (cover) | Washington Post | Huffington Post


Thunder in the Mountains book jacketThunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War

by Daniel Sharfstein

The epic clash of two American legends—their brutal war and a battle of ideas that defined America after Reconstruction. Recreating the Nez Perce War through the voices of its survivors, Daniel J. Sharfstein’s visionary history of the West casts Howard’s turn away from civil rights alongside the nation’s rejection of racial equality and embrace of empire. The conflict becomes a pivotal struggle over who gets to claim the American dream: a battle of ideas about the meaning of freedom and equality, the mechanics of American power, and the limits of what the government can and should do for its people. The war that Howard and Joseph fought is one that Americans continue to fight today.

Media: Chicago Tribune | NPR | Christian Science Monitor


(Re)structuring Copyright: A Comprehensive Path to International Copyright Reform

by Daniel Gervais

In this bold and persuasive work Daniel Gervais, one of the world’s leading thinkers on the subject of intellectual property, argues that the international copyright system is in need of a root and branch rethink. As the Internet alters the world in which copyright operates beyond all recognition, a world increasingly defined by the might of online intermediaries and spawning a generation who are simultaneously authors, users and re-users of creative works, the structure of copyright in its current form is inadequate and unfit for this purpose. This ambitious and far-reaching book sets out to diagnose in some detail the problems faced by copyright, before eloquently mapping out a path for comprehensive and structured reform. It contributes a reasoned and novel voice to a debate that is all too often driven by ignorance and partisan self-interest.

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