Corporate Social Activism and the New Business of Change

The days when activists focused on fights over social issues while businesses concentrated on the pursuit of commercial profit are gone. Through pronouncements, boycotts, sponsorships, lobbying, investments, and divestment, businesses and their executives are at the forefront of some of the most important and contentious issues of our time, from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to voting rights to  gender equity.  As a result, the traditional understandings of capitalism and activism in American life have changed, a topic that I explore in a recent article and a new book.

Throughout U.S. history, corporations have played a critical role in social … Read more

The War on Business

Nations and businesses often compete and clash. But the war on business has escalated in  recent years as nation-states and non-state actors target specific businesses with sanctions and recriminations and new intensity and methods. The many legal, economic, and social implications are serious.

In a recent article, I examine the contemporary war on business, its growing importance to corporate and national affairs, and the pressing need for better, pragmatic approaches to understanding and addressing these rising threats.

Even before the global business community responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the world witnessed this new mode of business warfare.  … Read more

Executive Private Misconduct

Over the last few years, misbehavior of corporate executives like Harvey Weinstein, Steve Wynn, Leslie Moonves, and Elon Musk has outraged many people around the world.  The misconduct has ranged from the inadvisable to the unethical to the criminal.  Almost all of it – when made public – has damaged the executives’ public reputations, diminished the value of their companies’ stock, and raised some serious legal and policy issues.

My recent article, Executive Private Misconduct, in The George Washington Law Review examines this convergence of private lives and public consequences of executive misbehavior.  The article puts the legal issues … Read more

Artificial Intelligence, Finance, and the Law

The progress and promise realized and presented by artificial intelligence in finance has been remarkable.  It has made finance cheaper, faster, larger, more accessible, more profitable, and more efficient in many ways.  Yet for all the significant progress and promise made possible by financial artificial intelligence, it also presents serious risks and limitations.

My recent article, Artificial Intelligence, Finance, and the Law, in the Fordham Law Review, offers a study of those risks and limitations – the ways artificial intelligence and misunderstandings of it can harm and hinder law, finance, and society.  It provides a broad examination of inherent … Read more

Improving Economic Policies for the American Territories

On October 15, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment, a case that centers on the constitutionality of the appointment process for the members of the federally established board charged with restructuring Puerto Rico’s over $100 billion in debt.  In addition to shedding light on this narrow question about debt, bankruptcy, and the U.S. Constitution, the case highlights the larger, longstanding political and economic plight of over 4 million Americans living in the unincorporated territories of the United States (the “Territories”): Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, … Read more

Financial Weapons and Modern Warfare

A new type of warfare is upon us. In this new mode of war, finance is the most powerful weapon, bullets are not fired, financial institutions are the targets, and almost everyone is at risk.  Instead of smart bombs, improvised explosives, and unmanned drones –– economic sanctions, financial restrictions, and cyber programs are the weapons of choice. This is the new reality of modern financial warfare.

The armaments of modern financial warfare are as vast, diverse, and important as the myriad of ways to raise and move money. Broadly, the financial weapons of war can be divided into analog weapons … Read more

Infinite Financial Intermediation

Intermediation is a fundamental fact of finance. Investment banks underwrite stock offerings for companies. Commercial banks safeguard the savings of workers. Fund managers invest the pensions of retirees. Exchanges match orders of buyers and sellers. Brokers facilitate trades of investors. Credit card companies advance funds to consumers. Collectively, these and other intermediaries form the fabric of modern finance. Yet in the face of all these financial links, entrepreneurs and and technologists continue to endeavor toward the possibilities of fundamentally disrupting and disintermediating these existential financial ties with innovations like ApplePay, Square, and Venmo.

Despite numerous extraordinary innovations in finance, true … Read more

CEOs and Presidents

The following post comes to us from Tom C.W. Lin, Associate Professor of Law at Temple University Beasley School of Law, and is based on his recent article entitled “CEOs and Presidents,” 47 UC Davis Law Review 1351 (2014).  A full version of the paper can be found here.

Chief executives run the world. CEOs manage companies that touch every corner and curve of the earth. Presidents execute policies that affect people and populations across the globe. Together, CEOs and presidents form a double helix of executive power at the core of modern law and society.

My new … Read more

Cyborg Finance: The Emerging Future of Finance

In August of 2013, the global markets experienced the perils of an ongoing sea change in finance:  Goldman Sachs encountered a serious options trading malfunction due to a programming error; Everbright Securities, a leading Chinese securities broker, suffered a nearly $4 billion trading error due to a software glitch; and the NASDAQ stock exchange suspended trading for three hours on a regular trading day due to technical difficulties.

In a recently published article, The New Investor, I examine the ongoing sea change in finance. Machines appear to be on the rise and humans on the decline. Human endeavors have … Read more

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Editor's Tweet: Prof. Tom C.W. Lin of Temple Law School discusses "The New Investor" in the capital markets