Three recent articles authored by Virág Blazsek are mentioned in the Spring 2021 Newsletter of the International Law Association’s American Branch (see page 16, “Publications from Branch Members” section) (May 2021)
Virág Blazsek’s article, Financial Consumer Protection in the U.S. and the E.U.: A Preventive Building Block of Banking Bailout Law, is mentioned in Central European University’s Legal Department News Blog post here. The article was presented at the International Scientific Conference on the protection of the collective interests of consumers at the Union University Law School, Belgrade, Serbia on October 24, 2020 [online due to the pandemic] and it was published in the conference proceedings (ISBN 978-86-7952-050-0), see the article also on the SSRN (May 2021)
Virág Blazsek’s article, A Comparative Comment on the Banking Bailout Literature, is available at the FinReg Blog of Duke University School of Law’s Global Financial Markets Center. In this article, she place her book within the literature and also reflect on the different views and solutions offered by other scholars regarding the complex topic of bank bailouts. (April 2021)
Virág Blazsek held her first faculty workshop talk, almost 4 years ago, about her article, The European Aspects of Global Financial Developments at the Faculty Workshop of Suffolk University School of Law in Boston in April 2017. She was generously hosted by Professor Michael Rustad and received excellent comments and post-talk feedbacks from Professor Kathleen Engel and Professor Jeff Lipshaw. You can watch the video-recorded talk and following Q/A here (March 2021)
Selected Editorial Reviews of Banking Bailout Law (Routledge U.K. & U.S., 2020) from the book’s Amazon webpage (March 2021)
- “Virag Blazsek’s book provides a detailed and comprehensive review of the legal rules governing bank bailouts and resolutions of bank failures in the US, the UK, the EU, Hungary and Spain. She also examines significant bank failures and bank rescues that occurred in those jurisdictions during the global financial crisis of 2007-09 and its aftermath. She presents a very insightful analysis of the merits and shortcomings of a wide range of governmental strategies for responding to financial crises.” — Arthur E. Wilmarth, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Law, George Washington University
- “I have known Virág Blazsek for over 13 years. Her extraordinary legal analytical and problem-grasping skills shine through in this gap-filling work. No other author has attempted to give such a grounded, broad, and comparative overview of the complex and interdisciplinary topic of bank bailouts and the legal aspects of financial crisis management. The analysis of the post-2008 legal-regulatory framework in the book is of utmost practical importance and will serve as a reference in an upcoming crisis for regulators and the financial sector across jurisdictions.” — Tibor Kovács, General Counsel – Head of the Business Law Department, Deputy Managing Director, OTP Bank Plc.
- “In order to understand institutions, rules and phenomena, it is important to put them into a perspective. In her work, Virág Blazsek offers a comparative perspective. Her book on banking bailouts puts the rescue measures and regulatory frameworks into such a perspective, and at the same time opens an opportunity to perceive grounds behind failures and to identify avenues towards rescue. This comparative study on banking bailout law offers an invaluable guidance to those who are looking for solutions.” — Tibor Várady, Emeritus Professor, Emory University and Emeritus Professor, Central European University
- “This well-researched book by Virág Blazsek makes the eminently practical argument that rather than sticking their heads in the sand and pretending that bank bailouts will never occur, regulators should put in place ex ante rules on when, how, and under what conditions bailouts should happen. Though bank bailouts may not be an ideal solution to financial crises (indeed, one can easily imagine better systems, and better allocations of public money), they are a fact of current political/economic life. Recognising this, Blazsek provides a useful and evidence-based assessment of how past bailouts have actually been deployed by governments and where they fell short, and draws on these case studies to develop a set of best practices and principles for making bailouts more effective and democratically legitimate.” — Dr Jessica Lawrence, Senior Lecturer, University of Essex School of Law, U.K.
- “This book presents an excellent and brilliant overview and analysis of one of the most complex regulatory threats for the European Banking Union and the American financial system. This work shows the necessity to regulate challenging ex-ante scenarios such as the financial crisis suffered in the year 2008 and following. Now that we know that we will face the next collapse sooner or later, we should prepare our legal systems with the firm and flexible tools proposed by Virág. This insightful work shows the pitfalls of the past that regulators and legislators should avoid in the future.” — Julia Suderow, Professor, University of Deusto, Spain
The video of Virág Blazsek’s January 28, 2021 Guest Speaker lecture on Banking Bailout Law at the University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain is now available on YouTube here (February 2021)
A brief book overview of Banking Bailout Law (Routledge U.K. & U.S., 2020) is now available at Columbia Law School’s Blue Sky Blog here (October 2020)
Banking Bailout Law (Routledge U.K. & U.S., 2020) is mentioned in the Fall 2020 Newsletter of the International Law Association’s American Branch (see page 13, “Publications from Branch Members” section) (October 2020)
The eBook version of Banking Bailout Law is now available with preview of various chapters at Routledge (click on “preview this title”) and in Kindle-version at Amazon (September 2020)
The Department of Legal Studies of Central European University posted a news entry about the forthcoming book, Banking Bailout Law (May 2020)
The Folger Shakespeare Library — The World’s Largest Collection of the Printed Works of William Shakespeare (June 2019)
The Folgers earned their fortune through two types of liquid gold: oil and coffee. The Folger Shakespeare Library was founded by that part of the family which did business in the oil industry. Henry Clay Folger was president and later chairman of Standard Oil of New York. He and his very intelligent wife, Emily Clara Jordan Folger, not only loved each other but also shared a love for the works of Shakespeare. They were based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Moving their unique Shakespeare collection to Washington, D.C., which they collected quietly piece-by-piece at auctions, was not a simple venture. The library opened in 1932 as a gift to the American people (Mr. Folger died in 1930). Mr. and Mrs. Folger dedicated the library “to the glory of William Shakespeare and the greater glory of God” — one can read it on the wall of the library’s beautiful Gail Kern Paster Reading Room. The Folgers were married for more than 30 years but never had children. This library is their legacy, their lives’ work. The reading room truly looks like a temple raised for the glory of Shakespeare. To illustrate the Folger Library’s significance, our knowledgeable tour guide explained that the earliest texts of William Shakespeare’s works were published during the 16th and 17th centuries in quarto or folio format. Folios are larger, taller volumes, while quartos are smaller, half the size of the folios. About 80 percent of the folios are kept in the Folger Library in Washington, D.C. The second biggest collection is in Japan — with 12 folios — and the third, with 6 folios, is in the New York Public Library’s collection. The original, old prints are stored in the vault under the Gail Kern Paster Reading Room. Visitors and research scholars can only see the facsimile prints, not the original ones, with few exceptions. The library collects Shakespeare-related materials, including editions in fake bindings. “One can learn from fake bindings just as much as from the real ones,” our excellent tourguide explained. In addition to housing the world’s largest Shakespeare collection, the Folger Library is also home to major collections of other rare Renaissance books, manuscripts, and works of art. It is located one block from the U.S. Capitol.
The Law Library Collections of the Library of Congress (March 2019)
An orientation tour of the Law Library Collections of the Library of Congress takes place once per month, and it requires prior online registration, here. The Library of Congress includes the largest law library in the world. The collection covers 267 nations and jurisdictions, with materials in 140 languages. The buildings of the Library of Congress are unforgettably beautiful and inspiring; according to one of the ceiling-inscriptions, “Too low they build, who build beneath the stars.” But, for a legal scholar, the best thing about the Library of Congress is that a large part of the collection is available on line. Congress.gov is the official website for U.S. federal legislative information. The resources include legislation, congressional records, committee reports, profiles of members of Congress, and treaty documents submitted to the Senate since 1975. One can check the status of a bill and set bill activity alerts. A highly useful part of this website is the Glossary, which includes brief explanations of legislative terms. Law.gov is the other website managed by the Library of Congress. Its In Custodia Legis Blog provides daily content related to global matters, Congress.gov developments, American and international legal history. The Global Legal Information Catalog includes resources about foreign, comparative and international law publications. One can subscribe for the Global Legal Monitor, selecting areas of interest, or consult the Guide to Law Online, which includes primary and secondary sources on government and law from 195 nations and the U.S.
(Source: Orientation to Law Library Collections of March 26, 2019.)
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (January 2019)
In 1788, Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist Papers No. 78, “To avoid an arbitrary discretion in the courts, it is indispensable that they should be bound down by strict rules and precedents, which serve to define and point out their duty in every particular case that comes before them; and it will readily be conceived from the variety of controversies which grow out of the folly and wickedness of mankind, that the records of those precedents must unavoidably swell to a very considerable bulk, and must demand long and laborious study to acquire a competent knowledge of them.” The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was established on October 1, 1982. It is located on historic Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. The Federal Circuit is unique among the thirteen Circuit Courts of Appeals in that it has nationwide jurisdiction over a variety of subject areas, such as international trade, government contracts, patents, trademarks, and certain money claims against the U.S. Government. The judges of the court are appointed for life by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Appeals are heard by three-member panels. Court sessions generally are held during the first week of each month. The court’s decisions can be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Despite the ongoing government shutdown since December 22, 2018, the court proceeded with the scheduled oral arguments at the beginning of January 2019, in line with the relevant court order (Operating Status — No. 19-4; December 28, 2018). The judges frequently interrupted the parties’ attorneys with questions. An attorney usually has only fifteen minutes to present his or her argument.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury building — The Fortress-like Headquarters of U.S. Public Finances (October 2018)
Visiting the U.S. Department of the Treasury building in Washington, D.C., is a very memorable experience. Knowledgeable volunteer tour guides explain the functions, importance and history of the Treasury while offering exciting details about this exceptional, fortress-like building’s architecture. The Treasury fulfills functions of a traditional ministry of finance, a treasury, and a financial supervisory and regulatory authority. When the federal government moved to D.C. from Philadelphia in June 1800, the Treasury building was the only completed governmental building; the Capitol and the White House were only partially completed. It is very interesting that the location of Washington, D.C., was a consequence of a compromise that had to do with the consolidation of public debt of the states, and that the location of the Treasury building — it sits directly next to the White House — expresses the priority position of public finances within the federal government. A replica of the Liberty Bell welcomes visitors at the entrance. Each state has a copy of the original bell, in Philadelphia, reminding us of a George Washington quote: “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” The building is a fire-proof, fortress-like headquarters of U.S. public finances. A less-known detail is that one of its offices served for about six weeks as the temporary White House for President Andrew Johnson following the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865.
(For more information about the history of the U.S. Treasury, please click here.)
Adam Smith: Father of Economics by Jesse Norman (September 2018)
One of the hidden gems of Washington, D.C. is The National Churchill Library & Center of The George Washington University, operated in cooperation with the International Churchill Society. Besides having a small but thrilling exhibition of original Churchill scripts and letters, the center has a speaker series of excellent quality. As part of this series, Jesse Norman held a talk about his new book, entitled Adam Smith: Father of Economics, on September 19, 2018. The author is a conservative member of the British Parliament, a political philosopher, and an Edmund Burke biographer. Mr. Norman’s fantastic talk combined history, economics, sociology and philosophy. He not only gave an overview of Adam Smith’s life and work but also explained Smith’s time and the social and economic environment he lived in—18th century of Great Britain, the “commercial society” of the era—and the economic expansion in Scotland in the 18th century, which greatly influenced Smith’s thought. In the book, Norman goes beyond Smith’s life and economic theory to follows the intellectual history of Smith’s influence over more than two centuries. Like Smith, the author is an empiricist. The book is a great read because it includes many anecdotes and insights as it shares with the reader the life story and philosophy of Adam. One can read a brief WSJ review of the book by Deirdre Nansen McCloskey here. Mr. Norman also mentioned Smith’s Lectures on Jurisprudence, originally delivered at the University of Glasgow in 1762–1763, available here. In the Wealth of Nations (1776), Adam Smith wrote that “no society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.” — But what if fairness or solidarity is not so strongly present in a society? Does, then, the law have the role (and the capacity) to force the exercise of more fairness or solidarity on individuals? This issue is also connected to the philosophical question, what is more determinative from the point of view of economic prosperity, law or culture? Mr. Norman’s book not only provides a good understanding of Adam Smith’s economic theory and philosophical thought but is also a thought-provoking read.
Lincoln Paraphrased Kossuth in the Gettysburg Address (July 2018)
“Abraham Lincoln, whose phrase “of the people, by the people, and for the people” in the Gettysburg Address was influenced by similar lines in Kossuth’s speech to the Ohio legislature, quoted above.” (Source: All For the People, and All By the People — Lajos Kossuth’s Fight for Hungarian Independence.) Perhaps the most memorable speech of Kossuth, who was one of the leaders of Hungary’s 1848 Revolution and War of Independence against the Austrian Empire, was delivered in Columbus, Ohio, to the state legislature. “Almost every century has had one predominant idea which imparted a common direction to the activity of nations. This predominant idea is the spirit of the age, invisible yet omnipresent, impregnable, all-pervading, scorned, abused, opposed yet omnipotent. The spirit of our age is democracy. All for the people and all by the people. Nothing about the people without the people. That is democracy, and that is the ruling tendency of the spirit of our age.” It is quite probable that these words were recalled by Lincoln, as the Gettysburg Address echoes Kossuth’s definition of democracy. (Source: Congressional Record Volume 148, Number 59.) Kossuth was a celebrated hero in America in the 19th century. He could never return to Hungary. He died in Turin, Italy in 1894. His body was taken from Italy to Budapest by train, where he was buried amid the mourning of the whole nation. One can find very few statues of foreign nationals in the U.S. Capitol; a bust of Kossuth’s has been on display there since March 15, 1990, next to busts of Winston Churchill’s and Václav Havel’s. What a great honor! March 15 is the Hungarian National Day, commemorating Hungary’s 1848 Revolution and War of Independence. March 15, 1990 was the first freely celebrated March 15 after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Decoding Bank Bailouts — Transcript of My Three-Minute Speech Presented at First CEU 3MT Competition (June 2018)
A decade ago, the U.S. bank bailouts (bank rescue measures financed from taxpayer dollars) caused public outrage and led to the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Many thought that bank bailouts were (1) politically unfair (on the view that individuals should have been bailed out instead) and (2) economically detrimental, causing unprecedented sovereign indebtedness globally. (3) People also thought that as banks were rescued their executives received huge bonuses, and (4) that the people responsible for the crisis, including those who committed fraud and other crimes, were not punished.
So did I.
However, based on a large number of bailout case studies, my research confirmed that these are partly misconceptions. (1) The U.S. federal government recovered most of the bank bailout-related expenditures within two years. (By contrast, in the E.U., bank bailouts created a total loss and they led to a sovereign debt crisis by 2011, which also contributed to the present political instability in the region.) (2) When bank bailout measures were prompter and more generous, like in the U.S., the real economy suffered less, and economic growth recovered more rapidly. (3) Certain bailout methods worked better than others. For example, nationalization in almost all cases created long-term financial burdens for the intervening states in Europe. (4) Executive compensation was strictly limited in many cases until the rescued bank paid back the money to the state. (5) Scores of individuals were actually imprisoned, as revealed by the SIGTARP reports, which are publicly available.
In sum, bank bailouts can be done well.
Why are these findings significant? The answer is that the current legal framework was mostly designed based on the misconceptions I have just untangled. I argue in my dissertation that instead of focusing on the prohibition of future bank bailouts, we should rather focus on the efficient, democratic and transparent process of bailing out banks. Bank bailouts do not primarily aim at rescuing individual banks or specific groups of investors. They rather aim at stopping financial panic and restoring the operability of the financial system. If bank bailouts are done well, they can serve the public interest.
(For more information about the 3MT competition please visit: Doctoral Students Present Research Topics at First CEU 3MT Competition.)