'Modern society has eliminated the inhumane debtors' prisons for handling the insolvent debtor and in their stead have enacted benign modern laws in the area of bankruptcy. Unscrupulous merchants now use these benign laws for fraudulent purposes.' Based on case studies in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela, this is the first publication to provide recommendations about the important legal and institutional issues that are involved in bankruptcy reform in a critical region of the global economy. The authors note that effective bankruptcy policy balances several requirements for the conduct of a stable, successful economy. For example, it might be in the greatest interests to all parties if a company is given an opportunity to restructure and make use of the scarce resources remaining in its possession. On the other hand, inefficient firms, especially those that have long survived only on state subsidies, may need to fail in order to free space in the market for more efficient, better-managed companies. Finally, there are the needs to enforce loan contracts and provide an equitable system of debt collection.