“Code is Law” | How the Banks Have Made Code Into Law
“Code is law.” Literally.
The Law is the true embodiment
Of everything that’s excellent.
It has no kind of fault or flaw,
And I, my Lords, embody the Law.
—The Lord Chancellor, Iolanthe, Gilbert and Sullivan
We can look at the foreclosure crisis as the pre-emininent law enforcement crisis of our time: Elite impunity for crimes committed and still being committed by lenders and servicers (“banksters”) on a massive scale. We can also look the foreclosure crsis as an issue of jurisprudence, where a revolutionary oligarchy seeks to change the nature of law itself.
Let’s start with “Code is law,” a terrific meme successfully propagated by Lawrence Lessig in the ’90s. From The Industry Standard:
The single most significant change in the politics of cyberspace is the coming of age of this simple idea: The code is law. The architectures of cyberspace are as important as the law in defining and defeating the liberties of the Net. Activists concerned with defending liberty, privacy or access must watch the code coming from the Valley – call it West Coast Code – as much as the code coming from Congress – call it East Coast Code.
The lesson of code is law is not the lesson that we should be regulating code, the lesson of code is law is to find the right mix between these modalities of regulation to achieve whatever regulatory objective a government might be seeking.
I’d like, respectfully, suggest that Lessig has the right meme, but the wrong content backing up the meme. As I hope to show, code is indeed law — and, increasingly, literally — but not in the clean, elegant, hip, candy-colored (and triumphal) world of “the Valley” and the Internet, but in the world of huge honkin’ crufty proprietary information systems run by major corporations. Especially those used by banksters (including MERS and LPS).
Is the foreclosure crisis a law enforcement crisis?
Find out here…