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Boom to Bust the Great 1990s Slump.

THIS BOOK IS THE STORY OF THE TRAUMA faced by bankrupts in the early 1990s. The author tells his story of the Bankruptcy Association, and of those who have either helped or hindered the association. The author's personal hardship and difficulties in his role as Chief Executive of the Association are discussed at length. The book is a frank and honest account of the difficulties that have been faced throughout the recession by those involved.

The book is certainly not an academic text. It illustrates through human suffering the difficulties that are faced by bankrupts in Great Britain and Ireland. The author does not emphasise sufficiently that in our society there are many different types of bankrupt. Some bankrupts are hard working, talented people who have been hit by colossal misfortune. Lives can be ruined, and not only the life of the bankrupt, but also his or her family. There are also those bankrupts who have been careless or negligent with their investments. All bankrupts, no matter what the circumstances, are treated harshly.

It is very difficult to form a set of rules that are going to cover all types of bankruptcy. Any illegality in the commercial world is dealt with by the criminal law, however, the civil law is used to dealing with bankruptcy. The 'punishment' under the civil system may, in fact, cause more harm to the individual than any penalty the criminal law could hand out. The problem is to gauge the socially and morally acceptable solutions for the numerous situations that can occur. The author demonstrates that all bankrupts, whatever the level of blame, receive harsh treatment from our society.

The author does not offer a comprehensive and satisfactory solution, but suggests a general reform:

"We need wholesale reform of our commercial and bankruptcy laws. We need fewer laws, more carefully thought out, allowing for simpler, clearer and fairer contractual arrangements between trading partners and others. The only people who can really understand the state of our country's commercial laws are those who have experienced them at first hand.

There is possibly a need for some law reform in this area, but the maxim of hard cases making bad law must not be forgotten. If any law reform is to be considered it must give satisfactory protection to creditors, individual and corporate. The personal bankruptcy laws may need some significant reform, however, and reform may need to consider not only personal bankruptcy but also corporate failure. In all cases, creditors must be afforded significant protection -- the balance between retribution for the debtor and protection for the creditor, is the problem.

The current business climate not only has winners, but also big losers. The author calls for a level playing field, so that young entrepreneurs have the chance to build a better tomorrow. He argues that the current law favours those with wealth and power against those who do not have either.

This book is a collection of personal disasters and tells of those who have become bankrupt through little fault of their own. Some interesting points are raised about the apparent unfairness of the system. This book illustrates the personal problems that can be caused by the current bankruptcy laws. The book is basically making a social and humanitarian statement on the current legal position with regard to personal bankruptcy.

COPYRIGHT 1995 Sage Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Blizzard, David
Publication:International Small Business Journal
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 1995
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