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Course Overview
The Legal Architecture of Globalization: Money, Debt and Development – Overview

Harvard Law School, Spring 2019
Professor Christine Desan

Course Syllabus [pdf] | Course Materials [page]

Course Description: An integrated political economy now covers much of the globe.  This course focuses on the monetary structure of that phenomenon as a matter created and contested in law.  Trade, extraction, exchange, debt, and economic development – for centuries, all have depended on money as their medium.  By examining the changing legal design of money, we will study globalization as a material, ideological, and distributive event of enormous significance.

Early sovereigns prioritized domestic law, both public and private, in developing the rules that provide the basic matrix for exchange. Those rules created the mediums that carry value – including money, credit, and circulating capital.  Nation-states today still claim sovereignty over those decisions; they are basic to self-determination and economic development.  But the latitude for those decisions had changed.  New monetary and financial relations now bind states, individuals, and other entities together and reconfigure the possibilities for their interaction.

We consider the way that political communities assert sovereignty in money and finance, the challenges that occur as different sovereign projects collide, interact, or compete with one another, and the character of the international orders …
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The Legal Architecture of Globalization: Money, Debt and Development – Overview

Course Overview
Constitutional Law of Money – Overview

Professor Christine Desan (profile)
Harvard Law School – Spring 2019

Syllabus  |  Course Materials (coming soon)

Course Description:
According to one of the framers, the “soul of the Constitution” was the clause allocating authority over money.   Over the following centuries, money has remained at the center of debates over governance, including the division between state and federal sovereigns, American approaches to economic development and social welfare, the scope of judicial review, federal preemption, and the allocation of fundamental decisions about material distribution.  The authority of the Federal Reserve, for example, apparently includes the ability to make monetary policy decisions that move hundreds of billions of dollars.  This 3-credit course picks up an essential line of constitutional debate and determination, including those concerning the national debt, the contracts clause, state police powers, the Legal Tender Cases, the Gold Clause cases, and the role and responsibilities of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.…
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Constitutional Law of Money – Overview

Course Materials
The Legal Architecture of Globalization: Money, Debt, and Development – Materials

Harvard Law School, Spring 2019
Professor Christine Desan

Introduction and Overview

Class 01: Money, Debt, and Development: Challenges and Change in a Globalizing World
Reading, Background and Discussion

I. A Baseline: Money and its Design in the Early Western World

Class 02: Course Overview and Introduction to Money as a Legal Institution
Reading, Background and Discussion

Class 03: Commodity Money and Medieval Constitutionalism (the Law on Money Creation and Debasement)
Reading, Background and Discussion

Class 04: Medieval Money, Development, and the Law on Exchange (Usury and Nominalism)
Reading, Background and Discussion

Class 05: Sovereignty and International Law in an Age of Bullion: the Early Modern Settlement
Reading, Background and Discussion

II. The Early Modern Quartet: Modern Money, Public Debt, Securities Markets, and Commercial Banking in the Era of European Expansion

Class 06: The Invention of Modern (Bank-based) Money
Reading, Background and Discussion

Class 07: The New Public Law of Money: Public Debt and the Ascendance of Creditors’ Rights
Reading, Background and Discussion

Class 08: Securities Markets and the Accommodation of International Law: the Rise of Capital Out of the South Sea Debacle
Reading, Background and Discussion

Class 09: The Development of Commercial Banking
Reading, Background and Discussion

Class 10: Time-out
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The Legal Architecture of Globalization: Money, Debt, and Development – Materials