Ribstein on Business, Film and Law

Josh Wright —  25 April 2009

Wrapping up what looks like a very interesting conference at the University of Illinois on the interaction between business, film, and law, Larry Ribstein shares some thoughts in an excellent post.  Readers of Ideoblog will be familiar with Professor Ribstein’s take on how artists’ negative views of capitalists find their way into film. In summing up his retrospective thoughts on the conference, Ribstein concludes:

The bottom line is that it is pretty clear that a narrative of business is being constructed both in film and the popular press (though Mae Kuykendall has her doubts). Law and economics types like me generally eschew narrative theory as soft stuff, lacking rigor. But that leaves the construction of the critical stories to others. Moreover, this is an area that is susceptible to both rigorous public choice analysis and data about the construction and effect of the story. That’s the discussion I’m trying to promote.

Finally, this conference further convinced me of the value of this type of gathering. Unlike the typical law school conference, this was not a law-review-driven collection of mini-workshops on papers in process. Though that sort of conference can be valuable, too often it amounts to the retailing of ideas that are best done in other ways. This was instead an extended discussion that, I hope, contributed to the process of forming ideas. In our digital age, this could end up being the primary function of physical meetings among academics.

Go read the whole thing.