In this first episode, Professor Katharina Pistor (@Columbia Law School) introduces the concept of the legal “coding” of capital.
Prof. Pistor explains how the law selectively “codes” certain assets, endowing them with the capacity to protect and produce private wealth. She illustrates this process with the historical example of how land became legally coded as property during the enclosure movement in England. She compares it with more recent attempts to code traditional indigenous land use rights in Belize.
Prof. Pistor goes on to explain how even ideas (which are not natural property, in the traditional rivalrous sense of the term) can nonetheless be made property according to the law. The institutionalization of copyright and patent law has created an entire new class of property. How far can it go? She looks at the coding intellectual property in the medical industry, most notably recent attempts to patent human genes.