Bankruptcy Policymaking in an Imperfect World

This essay is about bankruptcy policy. It attempts to articulate a comprehensive statement about the various and competing goals that underlie the bankruptcy system. The essay offers both a positive observation, drawn from the Code and its operation, and a normative evaluation, designed to outline the difficult value judgments that comprise the bankruptcy system. It also serves warning: before commentators propose any sweeping changes or policymakers take seriously any suggestions to scrap the system, they must consider the impact of such proposals on a number of competing normative goals.