Bankruptcy Law as Social Legislation

44 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2001

See all articles by Todd J. Zywicki

Todd J. Zywicki

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center


Bankruptcy law is generally thought of as being purely economic in nature. But personal bankruptcy is also a form of post-contractual opportunism that reflects a moral decision to allow an individual to repudiate a promise of repayment. Thus, the bankruptcy decision is fraught with moral significance regarding promise-keeping and reciprocity. Reciprocity, it is argued, is the cornerstone of a free economy, healthy civil society, and democratic governance. Rampant personal bankruptcy, it is argued, frays these bonds of reciprocity that are necessary for a free, responsible, and self-governing society.

Suggested Citation

Zywicki, Todd J., Bankruptcy Law as Social Legislation. Available at SSRN: or

Todd J. Zywicki (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School ( email )

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