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What should be done when an inadequate fund is to be distributed among
competing claimants and under applicable rules of law, A is entitled to priority
over B, who is entitled to priority over C, who is entitled to priority over A?
Or, in a variant, when B and C have claims entitled to equal priority, one of
which is superior, the other inferior, to A's claim? The problem has long
entertained lawyers, particularly those in whom a speculative turn of mind is
allied with some proficiency in mathematics. Several exceedingly complex
all-purpose theoretical solutions have been proposed. These have been ignored by the courts. A judge who finds himself face to face with a circular priority system typically reacts in the manner of a bull who has been goaded by the picadors: he paws the ground and roars with rage. The spectator can only sympathize with judge and bull.
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