I have a slightly idiosyncratic interest in how people did business in the past. This interest has manifested itself in, for example, the great pleasure I took in the financial sections of Braudel. I happen to think that Swift v. Tyson is as interesting as Erie R.R. v. Tompkins.
I’ve been reading a paper that comes closer than anything else I’ve seen to justifying that interest: James Steven Rogers’s The New Old Law of Electronic Money. He argues not just that the 19th-century law of private bank notes offers useful analogies for thinking about electronic cash, but that the 19th-century law of private bank note is directly applicable to electronic cash, thanks to the miracle of stare decisis.
I’m not expert in the law of payment systems (though I’m trying to become more so), but Rogers’s thesis strikes me as well-argued. It’s certainly a well-written article. I’ve interrupted Aislinn’s cardiology studies twice now by reading aloud passages. Traditional legal scholarship may be under attack, but we have here an excellent exemplar of the genre—comprehensive, clear, detailed, and accessible to a reader with almost no background in the subject. It’s by no means a complete introduction to the field, but even the non-legal among you might find it interesting. Greyhame, I’m thinking of you.