chapter  2
54 Pages

A quick glance at seven jurisdictions

Since this text evolved from a lecture delivered in the United States it is, perhaps, only appropriate to remain faithful to the original scheme and begin by asking this general question in the context of that country. But there is a further reason why it is best to begin in this way. For America these days illustrate perfectly the ambivalence its lawyers seem to have towards the issue. Whether this is part of what a recent collection of essays1 described as ‘American Exceptionalism’ and, indeed, whether it has been a semi-permanent feature of the American scene or not, is not a matter to be discussed here. Our thesis is that the United States is currently going through an acute paroxysm. But, at the same time, the multiple objections levied against the idea of foreign borrowings can also help highlight some of the difficulties that confront other systems, as well. Finally, we set the scene by starting with the United States because here one encounters some of the strongest pronouncements against even attempting the exercise; and the tone of the American debates can, at times, be surprisingly strident.