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Ill-Gotten Gains

Evasion, Blackmail, Fraud, and Kindred Puzzles of the Law

In Ill-Gotten Gains, Leo Katz describes the underlying principles that not only guide the law but also moral decisions. Mixing wit with insight, anecdotes with analysis, Katz uncovers what is really at stake in crimes such as insider trading, blackmail, and plagiarism. With its startling conclusions and myriad twists, this book will fascinate all those intrigued by the perplexing relationship between morality and law.

"An ambitious and well-written book of legal and moral theory to overthrow both utilitarianism and its cousin, the economic approach to law."—Richard A. Posner, New Republic

"A good, well-written book full of interesting examples."—Library Journal

"[An] elegant defense of circumvention and subterfuge . . . a heroically counterintuitive book."—Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker

308 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1996

Law and Legal Studies: General Legal Studies

Philosophy: General Philosophy

Table of Contents

Unsolved Crimes: An Introduction
Part One - Avoidance and Evasion
The Problem
The Problem Multiplied
Bogus Solutions
Loopholes without Laws
Loopholes and the Theologians
Could the Hairsplitters Be Right?
The Heart, the Lungs, and the Kidneys of the Matter
An Analogy: Legislation
A Further Analogy: Litigation
The Importance of Pedigree
Implications and Applications: Tax Law and Related Problems
Implications and Applications: Corporate Law and Related Problems
Further Implications and Applications: Cracking the Test, Beating the System, Avoiding the Ticket, and Other Deontological Tricks of Everyday Life
From Restructuring to Reframing
The Consequentialist Frame-Up
Indeterminacy and Doubt
The Short Answer
Part Two - Blackmail and Other Criminal Bargains
The Problem
Blackmail in Relation to "Plain Vanilla" Coercion
Other People’s Thoughts
A Puzzle about Punishment
The Punishment Puzzle Resolved
Blackmail Proper
An Objection: The Kreplach Problem
Another Blackmail Paradox
The Insider Trading Puzzle
A Red (But Not Unsavory) Herring: Ignorance and Incommensurability
Another Red Herring: The Hidden Victims of Insider Trading
The Real Problem with Insider Trading: First Version of the Argument
The Real Problem with Insider Trading: Second Version of the Argument
Blackmail, Insider Trading, and Amartya Sen’s Libertarian Paradox
The Short Answer
Part Three - The Misappropriation of Glory
The Problem
The Actus Reus of Doing Good
The Mens Rea of Doing Good
Causing Good
Assisting with the Good
Attempting the Good
Defenses and Detractions
Some Questions of Procedure
The Value of a Thing
The Short Answer


Association of American Publishers: PROSE Book Award
Honorable Mention

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