Jeffrey Sachs, of Common Dreams sends this chilling reminder that corporate fraud -- the same that recently crippled the world's economy -- is going to stay with us for good. Besides corrupt politicians and the possibilities of bailouts, big companies are so financially powerful that governments are afraid to take them on.
The world is drowning in corporate fraud, and the problems are probably greatest in rich countries -- those with supposedly "good governance." Poor-country governments probably accept more bribes and commit more offenses, but it is rich countries that host the global companies that carry out the largest offenses. Money talks, and it is corrupting politics and markets all over the world.
Hardly a day passes without a new story of malfeasance. Every Wall Street firm has paid significant fines during the past decade for phony accounting, insider trading, securities fraud, Ponzi schemes, or outright embezzlement by CEOs.
There is, however, scant accountability. Two years after the biggest financial crisis in history, fueled by unscrupulous behavior by the biggest banks on Wall Street, not a single financial leader has faced jail. When companies are fined for malfeasance, their shareholders, not their CEOs and managers, pay the price. The fines are always a tiny fraction of the ill-gotten gains, implying to Wall Street that corrupt practices have a solid rate of return.
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