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News Link • Corruption

The 1677 Statute of Frauds: History We Neglect at Our Peril

In other words, perjury and corrupt process were the order of the day: some testimony was weighted more heavily than others, and money changed hands to help it happen. Unjust, and bad for business, too, as the courts got clogged up and commerce got entangles in disputes (sound familiar yet?). So stuff got put in writing. And, with the assistance of the contract law formulated in the Statute of Frauds modern capitalism takes off – by 1692 we have our central bank; by 1720 we have our first giant Bubble. Naturally enough, the decidedly capitalist Founding Fathers inherit and retain the same legal infrastructure after 1776. Now consider the impact of MERS (might as well be word of mouth), robosigners (corrupt process), dubious affidavits (perjury), neglect of the paper trail (sheer anarchy), and Florida courts that systematically favour some testimony (that of banks) over that of other participants in the foreclosure process. We have been here before: that is the UK, pre-1677. Your servicers, robo-signers and the rest of the merry crew of crooks are set fair to unwind a third of a millennium’s worth of contract legislation that is key to the functioning of your economic system. That is infrastructure neglect on an heroic scale, and it is why Sir Leoline Jenkins is no doubt spinning in his grave.

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