Professor Katharina Pistor surveys the institutions involved in the process of connecting legal codes to capital.
Prof. Pistor begins with the four essential attributes of capital - priority, durability, universality, and convertibility. These are essential to ensure that an asset generates wealth for its owner, i.e. becomes capital. She then turns her attention to the question, "How are assets legally coded as capital?" The answer is through the legal institutions. They end up constructing certain bodies of law to that end - property, collateral, trust, corporate, bankruptcy and contract law.
Private owners of capital can harness the centralized means of coercion (like litigating in State courts) to make their rights effective. But it can also be pursued in a more decentralized fashion, with parties picking the law and the forum. Prof. Pistor surveys the various venues where legal claims are pursued, but also where law is constructed. The law is not always handed down from above, but often emerges from below, sometimes outside the courts. The law and legal institutions are not static, but evolve and expand by an incremental process, usually driven by interested parties. It need not be by legislation - they can change the meaning of a law by renegotiating its interpretation and application.