Experts Debate Solutions to Global Financial Crisis

Summer 2009

  • Print this article

Columbia Law School and the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy recently hosted a conference examining several regulatory proposals that could help address the global economic crisis.

Professor John C. Coffee Jr., the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law and Director of the Center on Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School, organized the event and opened the day’s first panel with a question: “What can be done?”

Among the experts and scholars on hand to offer answers was Joel Seligman, the president of the University of Rochester and one of the nation’s leading experts in securities law. “We have unlearned lessons of the past,” he said. To regain economic stability, Seligman called for greater transparency, as well as uniformity in regulation and oversight.

Professor Merritt B. Fox, the Michael E. Patterson Professor of Law and the NASDAQ Professor for Law and Economics of Capital Markets, moderated the event’s second panel, titled “Legislative Changes on the Horizon.” During that session, Nell Minow, whom Businessweek.com called “the queen of good corporate governance,” raised the issue of culpability. “Executive compensation is at the absolute core of everything that’s gone wrong,” Minow said.

New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr. agreed. Amid a day of analyzing solutions to systemic problems, Thompson maintained a focus on what brought about perhaps the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. “Absolute greed got us in the situation we’re in now,” Thompson said in his keynote address. He deemed the crisis “a perfect storm of financial chaos.”

  • Print this article

(Left to right) Lynn Turner, Nell Minow, Robert Giuffra Jr., Jay Eisenhofer, and Professor Merritt Fox at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy event