Bill Black: Why do Conservatives Oppose Prosecuting Elite Corporate Frauds?

Dave here (always wanted to say that!). This is good food for thought from Professor Black, and I don’t think it necessarily argues for lesser-evilism. In fact, the appropriate labels where this is concerned are insiders and outsiders, rather than left and right.

By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Cross posted from New Economic Perspectives

There are at least four principles that virtually all conservatives purport to support – except when the potential defendant is socially elite. I have written previously about two of these principles on several occasions – the need for accountability and “broken windows” theory that calls for the prosecutors to make the prosecution of even minor street crimes a high priority if they have, even indirectly, a material effect on the community.

The third principle is that it is vital to punish in order to deter crime. Gary Becker, the very conservative Nobel laureate in economics, emphasized this point (again, in the context of street crime). Under Becker’s theory of crime our current practices of allowing elite banksters to become wealthy through leading the “sure thing” of accounting control fraud with immunity from the criminal laws will predictably lead to new, larger epidemics of fraud that will continue to cause our recurrent, intensifying financial crises. It is rare, however, to find a prominent conservative who is demanding a priority effort to prosecute the elite bank officers who ran those frauds. I know of no conservative member of Congress publicly making that demand today. Senator Chuck Grassley has previously criticized the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute elite bankers.

The fourth principle, the one this column addresses, is the conservative love of “creative destruction” – a concept made famous by the economist Joseph Schumpeter. I have a simple proposition – there is no more creative destruction than putting a control fraud out of business through a prosecution, receivership, or enforcement action. I have never met personally a conservative, however, who agrees with that proposition in the context of a large, elite corporation. When blue collar workers complain that their clothing manufacturing firm was put out of business by a rival firm that locates its plants in Bangladesh and is able to charge less for their goods because they pay their workers a pittance and “save” money by building factories that are death traps the conservative answer is to tell the U.S. workers to stop whining and light a candle on the altar devoted to the worship of capitalism celebrating the “creative destruction” of their jobs.

Conservatives should view control frauds as the supreme evil that they will devote their lives to eradicating. Control frauds are the ultimate betrayal of capitalism. First, they are the elite face of capitalism that gives capitalism a terrible name. They become wealthy not because they are skilled, innovative, or willing to take risk but because they cheat – and George Akerlof and Paul Romer aptly characterized cheating as a “sure thing” in their famous 1993 article – “Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit.”

“[M]any economists still [do] not understand that a combination of circumstances in the 1980s made it very easy to loot a [bank] with little risk of prosecution. Once this is clear, it becomes obvious that high-risk strategies that would pay off only in some states of the world were only for the timid. Why abuse the system to pursue a gamble that might pay off when you can exploit a sure thing with little risk of prosecution?” (Akerlof & Romer 1993: 4-5).

Worse, the way they cheat causes terrible harm to the public and, in the case of accounting control fraud (looting), the firm. Control frauds cause immense “destruction” of wealth, but they are the opposite of “creative.”

Second, control fraud harms not only the primary intended victim, e.g., the bank’s creditors and shareholders, but also honest firms by creating a “Gresham’s” dynamic in which bad ethics can drive good ethics out of the markets. George Akerlof was the first modern economist to explain this point in his famous 1970 article on anti-purchaser control frauds (“lemons”) that led to him becoming a Nobel laureate.

“[D]ishonest dealings tend to drive honest dealings out of the market. The cost of dishonesty, therefore, lies not only in the amount by which the purchaser is cheated; the cost also must include the loss incurred from driving legitimate business out of existence” Akerlof (1970).

A perceptive observer drew the same conclusion as Akerlof – in 1726.

“The Lilliputians look upon fraud as a greater crime than theft. For, they allege, care and vigilance, with a very common understanding, can protect a man’s goods from thieves, but honesty hath no fence against superior cunning. . . where fraud is permitted or connived at, or hath no law to punish it, the honest dealer is always undone, and the knave gets the advantage” (Swift, J., Gulliver’s Travels).

We saw how the controlling officers of the fraudulent lenders who drove the financial crisis deliberately generated a Gresham’s dynamic in order to create an “echo” epidemic of control fraud among appraisers to support their origination of millions of fraudulent “liar’s” loans.

“From 2000 to 2007, a coalition of appraisal organizations … delivered to Washington officials a public petition; signed by 11,000 appraisers…. [I]t charged that lenders were pressuring appraisers to place artificially high prices on properties [and] “blacklisting honest appraisers” and instead assigning business only to appraisers who would hit the desired price targets” (FCIC 2011: 18).

No honest home lender, of course, would inflate an appraisal. Appraisal fraud, like fraudulent liar’s loans, became epidemic. A national survey of appraisers conducted in early 2004 found that 75% had been the targets of coercion during the last 12 months. In 2005, Demos released a report that described appraisal fraud as “epidemic.” Then N.Y. Attorney General Cuomo’s 2007 investigation confirmed that Washington Mutual (WaMu) had blacklisted honest appraisers and stated that WaMu’s conduct was the norm among nonprime lenders. A follow-up survey of appraisers in 2007 demonstrated the response of the fraudulent lenders to these warnings. The percentage of appraisers who had been coerced in the last 12 months rose to 90 percent. Sixty-eight percent of appraisers reported losing at least one client when they refused to inflate the appraisal and 45% reported that they were not paid for at least one appraisal because they refused to inflate the appraisal.

Consider how perverse both the mortgage origination industry and the appraisal profession became due to the operation of a Gresham’s dynamic in each sphere. The worst, most incompetent and unethical bank officers and appraisers grew wealthy from frauds while the most honest were driven from the industry and the profession. Accounting control fraud is so devastating because accounting control frauds maximize their (fictional) income by making epic numbers of crappy loans at premium yields. The consequences for our Nation and the global economy were catastrophic. It was the epidemic of fraudulent liar’s loans that hyper-inflated the bubble and drove the losses. No government entity forced or urged lenders to make liar’s loans (or inflate appraisals) or secondary market purchasers to buy liar’s loans (and that includes Fannie and Freddie).

Third, control frauds are the agents of crony capitalism. Their CEOs may spout Randian sayings, but they are ultimate moochers who delight in translating their immense economic power into dominant political power that they use to defraud with impunity. Control frauds betray and destroy capitalism. If they are not stopped by the regulators and prosecutors (the “cops on the beat”) they destroy capitalism and democracy.

The best possible action would have been to put the accounting control frauds out of business. It would have prevented the crisis, but it would have also been the possible protection of honest business people and professionals. The honest appraisers did everything possible to warn us to the developing epidemic of accounting control fraud by home lenders. I invite every lender, organization, and elected official to make public the specific steps they took in response to the appraisers’ petition to urge the mortgage industry, the regulators, and the prosecutors to put the fraudulent lenders out of business. I am not aware of any conservative who urged the “creative destruction” of the fraudulent lenders. The Obama administration is a fierce opponent of the creative destruction of the fraudulent lenders. It has taken the opposite position – the elite frauds are too big to prosecute or jail precisely because they are large economic entities. When the industry, regulators, or prosecutors destroy a control fraud the world improves.

Conservative scholars love (purported) “private market discipline.” This is the theory that creditors will promptly destroy any control fraud. The problem is that creditors actually fund the massive growth of control frauds rather than “disciplining” them. Control frauds report extreme profits. In the case of accounting control frauds these reported profits are fictional, but the creditors love to fund their growth. In the case of other forms of control fraud the supra-normal profits produced by the fraud are real, so private market “discipline” is a complete oxymoron. The creditors eagerly fund these other forms of control fraud because of their highly profitable frauds.

The honest accountants at Arthur Andersen (AA) were not “destroyed” by the prosecution of AA. They went to work for other firms. AA was a serial aider of the worst accounting control frauds, and had been since at least 1986 when they helped the worst savings and loan control fraud (Charles Keating’s Lincoln Savings) try to deceive the S&L regulators about Lincoln Saving’s huge purchases of junk bonds from Michael Milken’s Drexel Burnham Lambert (another control fraud) that was creatively destroyed by prosecution. Had the Department of Justice acted on our criminal referral against AA in 1987 many future accounting control frauds that AA assisted in the Enron-era could have been prevented.

I urge conservatives to lead the charge for the creative destruction of the elite control frauds. This is one of the many critical areas in which people of different political views should be able to find common cause.

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About David Dayen

David is a contributing writer to He has been writing about politics since 2004. He spent three years writing for the FireDogLake News Desk; he’s also written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Guardian (UK), The Huffington Post, The Washington Monthly, Alternet, Democracy Journal and Pacific Standard, as well as multiple well-trafficked progressive blogs and websites. His has been a guest on MSNBC, CNN, Aljazeera, Russia Today, NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America Radio. He has contributed to two anthology books, one about the Wisconsin labor uprising and another on the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act in Congress. Prior to writing about politics he worked for two decades as a television producer and editor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ddayen.


  1. vlade

    One of the reasons why capitalists don’t destroy accounting fraud is that the public markets seem to give the investor a chance to participate in the fraud.
    That is, if the share price is driven up by the fraud, then for the shareholder the rational approach is (even when he’s aware of the fraud or suspects it) to keep the shares and hope to sell before the fraud is discovered for a gain. Given that the fraud is a) unlikely to be discovered b) even if done so, “the shareholder” is in fact a few steps removed, thus the asset manager is unlikely to suffer (as long as he has company in his suffering).

    Public markets became a great vehicle of parting most of the population with their wealth. For a long time, they don’t serve the purpose they came up with (raise capital) – raising capital via public equity is seen as expensive.

    Doing away with public markets (at least in the current form) would be one of the best services anyone could do, but about as likely as US turning communist.

    What would help in the first instance is making asset managers real fiducaries, in the vein of Venice Republic. That is, if AM loses money due to a fraud, they are (personally, i.e. including their personal wealth and the wealth of their family) responsible for making good.

    1. redleg

      “One of the reasons why capitalists don’t destroy accounting fraud is that the public markets seem to give the investor a chance to participate in the fraud.”

      Change the last 4 words to “be left holding the bag”.
      Fixed it, excuse the pun.

    2. Banger

      I like what you said. The trader, rather than the shareholder, is not concerned by fraud as you say. But I don’t agree that public markets should be abolished. Rather, we should eliminate corporations as we know it and, as you say, make people liable to fraud if they go along with it. Thus all shareholders of a corporation that commits fraud should be fined or jailed as should the officers and the corporation’s assets should be sold off at auction. This should have happened to the TBF banks–a public corporation should have been established to keep the wheels turning and evaluate who did what and insure that the system stayed somewhat liquid. But that’s all fantasy–that’s not how the system works–the system is corrupt itself so nothing can be done, at this point, to reform it. Something more drastic has to happend than what happened in 08.

  2. ian

    I call strawman bullshit on this one.
    Not all conservatives oppose prosecuting corporate frauds – I know I don’t.
    I also find it hard to square with recent history – the Enron perps went to jail under the Bush admin even though “Kenny Boy” was a supposed friend of W, I’m still waiting for anyone who matters to go to jail in the Obama era.

    1. YankeeFrank

      Obama is a conservative if ever there was one. The confusion is really about terminology. The “fresh water” economists have spent the past 5 years defending the status quo while at least some of the “salt water”, and all of the MMT economists, have been calling for prosecution and nationalization of fraudulent financial institutions during that time. Most of the Democratic party, and all of the Republican party, have been bought by Wall Street, hence they do not support prosecutions. I haven’t seen the Tea Party calling for such prosecutions despite their nominal opposition to the bailouts. What little opposition there has been to the crimes of the banksters has come from the left. Conservatives, for the most part, seem to take the attitude that what helps the shareholder helps the economy, and since the bailouts “worked” they were the way to go (immensely preferable to “big government” solutions like nationalization). You, as a particular conservative may disagree, but you won’t find much company amongst your brethren.

      1. BITFU

        Thank you YankeeFrank for Americanizing a classic rationalization known as “No True Scotsman.” As you’ll see in the classic rendition, the references to such “obscure” cities like Glasgow and Aberdeen are bound to confound other geographically ignorant Yanks. You managed, though, to “bring it all home” and make this failure in thinking relevant once again. It is much appreciated!

        Oh, and here’s that classic rendition:

        Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again”.

        Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing”.

        The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again; and, this time, finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly.

        This fact show that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but– is he going to admit this?

        Not likely.

        This time he says, “No true Scotsman would do such a thing”

        1. Massinissa

          I like using the no true scotsman argument against people, wonderful thing, but sometimes, sometimes, SOMETHING REALLY ISNT WHAT IT SAYS IT IS.

          If I was to say the Democratic Peoples Republic of (North) Korea was not a real democracy or republic, would you still be trying to claim that the NTS fallacy is applicable? Hell no. Because it is objectively demonstrable they exercise no democratic practices.

          In the No True Scotsman narrative, although the sex maniac is referred to as ‘Not a True Scotsman’, the truth is he is a real scotsman. He is from scotland, born in scotland, has scottish citizenship, and has a scottish accent. Clearly to any objective observer this sex maniac is a scotman, whether the man who doesnt want to believe he is a scotsman wants to believe so or not.

          Obama, however, every single goddamn thing he does, is center right, including that goddamn HeritageCare nonsense. Nixon is on the right, or at least was, and Obama is visibly to his right. That can easily be demonstrated, among other things by comparing their health care plans…

          Oh, and if you start saying that ‘But Nixon wasnt a real conservative!’, im just going to start laughing my ass off.

    2. Massinissa

      By ‘Conservatives’, im pretty sure Black is referring to Republicans in the beltway.

      Youre not in the beltway.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Ken Lay wasn’t prosecuted because of fraud, or the government would have gone after underlings at Enron in addition to Lay and Skilling to set an example for not whistleblowing because there were bound to be people who weren’t in on the secret but knew what was happening.

      Ken Lay was prosecuted because he was embarrassment to the powers that be. Barack Obama is incapable of being embarrassed because he can’t be wrong hence there is no need for prosecution of crimes by the elite.

      Admittedly, Republicans are better at politics than the Democrats and understand egregious individuals can’t be allowed to run around in public. Even the government shutdown is largely a ploy to make sure the Democrats own Obamacare while trying to win some pork for their own district. Obama’s popularity would be much higher if there had been a few token prosecutions of Wall Street.

    4. JT Fournier

      Is this over my head satire? Your argument is the straw person. Mr. Black never said all conservatives.

      And Ken Lay is a small sample fallacy.

    5. Optimader

      The self professed conservatives i know are not conservative, they are very radical.
      The flipside .. Are nancy Pelosi or D. Feinstein liberal? If so, are they rallying for prosecutions??
      So a definition of terms would be constructive.

      1. Nathanael

        Feinstein certainly isn’t liberal; she has a pretty solid right-wing record interrupted by support of the status quo.

        Pelosi is another matter; I would say Pelosi definitely has a liberal record when she has a free choice. But the job of a Minority Leader or Speaker is largely about compromoising your principles, so they usually come out looking more like “dealmakers” than like liberals or conservatives.

        The exception, of course, is the lunatic Republican House leadership.

  3. rusti

    There was an interview linked here months ago with a Canadian author who argued that climate change denial is a natural response if the only realistic solutions (government imposed and enforced) are threatening to your world view.

    If “the rising tide lifts all boats” and similar propaganda is central to how you see the world, you’ll do a lot of mental gymnastics to avoid acknowledging what looks obvious to everyone else.

    Even if there are conservative members of congress who personally recognize the massive fraud that has taken place, their constituencies almost certainly aren’t ready to make this mental leap so it seems like an ill-advised career move to break party lines on an issue that threatens all of the most powerful factions in Washington.

  4. GRP

    Free market capitalists do not take special cognisance of “control fraud”. They don’t believe anything is too big to fail either. So if the officers of an organisation act deliberately to defraud the shareholders, the shareholders are free to sue them for their contract violations. The state has neither the duty to protect such an organisation from failure nor a right to prosecute them suo motu.

    So if the situation in 2008 had been addressed according to those principles, there would have been no bank bailouts, perhaps a lot of banks would have gone under and perhaps a lot more financial wealth would have been wiped out, but the market would have punsihed the fraudsters and those who put them in charge. Instead what we have is the government bailing out the fraudsters and those who put them in charge and then these people going about their old ways and rewarding themselves.

    1. The Heretic

      You statements are premises on the belief of free market discipline. In theory it should work, but in the USA there are many theoretical and practical barriers that prevent effective legal temedy from private individuals. What happens if the shareholders are small and fragmented, while the managers of the enterprise are rich, have an army of lawyers and accountants, and have laws that can shield them from prosecution(the limited liability law). If the law is vague or does not exist , how can the shareholders use the legal apparatus to sue the directors?

      The problem of free market discipline is that small corporations and individuals are too weak, too uninformed, and too busy to enact discipline.

      1. JTFaraday

        That’s why, then the D-Party kept insisting that GM couldn’t go bankrupt because it would wreck the entire economy of the mid-west, the Republicans invented the “controlled bankruptcy” in order to punish the unionized auto workers at GM come hell or high water.

        They can be very resourceful when they want to be. Stand around and hand them the keys to the treasury was never the only alternative. It’s just the one the collective political class chose.

      2. GRP

        I don’t think the problem can ever be solved by regulation and control. The investors should face the penalty for trusting untrustworthy people or investing in an entity that they have no control over and the the trustworthiness of the people in control is an unknown. No one is being forced to invest. It is a voluntary decision. Protecting people from the bad consequences to themselves of decisions voluntarily taken cn only increase the risk of more frauds

  5. Skeptic

    From the article:
    “The third principle is that it is vital to punish in order to deter crime. Gary Becker, the very conservative Nobel laureate in economics, emphasized this point (again, in the context of street crime). Under Becker’s theory of crime our current practices of allowing elite banksters to become wealthy through leading the “sure thing” of accounting control fraud with immunity from the criminal laws will predictably lead to new, larger epidemics of fraud that will continue to cause our recurrent, intensifying financial crises. ”

    We hear the above over and over again but there is no measure of the extent of the problem. Why, after all these years, do we not even have an estimate of how many serious white collar criminals there are in the US? If indeed, the Crime Wave metastasizes and accelerates, and, by the way, probably infiltrates industries other then FIRE, why is there not even an estimate? (NSA and Pentagon criminality, for instance, are not unrelated to FIRE criminality.)

    The need for at least an estimate if not a more detailed analysis should be obvious to everyone but here it is: if you do not know the extent of a problem, there is no way you can offer a solution to it. You cannot know what resources must be devoted to solving it. If the case of this Massive Crime Wave, how many additional cops, investigators, administrative staff, prosecutors, judges, courts, prisons, etc. do you need to address the problem? And then: where would you get these honest men and women? Not from our present institutions.

    So, what would be your personal estimate of serious white collar criminals in the US? My back of the napkin, amateur estimate would be 3,000,000. Many of them live and work in a neighborhood near you quietly going about their criminal activity each working day. And each day, they seek new criminal opportunities in which to invest their Loot.

    Until the extent of this Massive Crime Wave is measured, the problem will never be solved. Case closed.

  6. Paul Tioxon

    I like Bill Black and read his book. And this is some sort of hold their feet to the fire in order to get some sort of result on the policy level. I am not sure this is the time for such efforts, although keeping it up, keeping it on file and seeing what shakes out with repeated efforts is a valid strategy. I can’t seem to wonder though, how a discussion can go on about conservatives without the obvious problem of the political death match being carried on in Washington right now.

    As much as Mr Black racks his brains to seek out conservatives who want to lock up banksters, all well and good as far as I’m concerned, but, and I do mean this sincerely, and with all due respect, but do you have any idea what conservatives really are, and not some high minded Edmund Burke spouter? Mr. Black, they don’t know you or this issue is even alive. They know even less about what I care about.

    The NRA’s Board of Director’s include Grover Norquist and and convicted arms dealer to the Iranians, Oliver North. Not to mention a larger contingent from Nixon’s administration. In case you haven’t noticed, the conservatives are waging a cultural war. The pass vagina control laws, not anti-fraud control laws, much less gun control. They think of too many blacks and hippie college students are voting. To them, fraud is practiced in the voting booth, not in the mortgage marketplace. Conservatives can see themselves taking over the mechanism of state power, not to save democracy or whatever sanitized version of capitalism you have to offer, but to have power to do whatever they want. The rule of law has been replaced by the market mechanism to make decisions in lieu of the public having any voice. That is why laws don’t matter to them, except as thinly veiled criminalization of the sins of the 10 commandments. There are is no thou shalt not control fraud commandment, unfortunately. So, we see attacks on the threat of gay marriage, abortion, voter fraud, people on drugs collecting unemployment benefits.

    Lesser evilism, please, all take all of the evil for breakfast I can get if it keeps me alive to dinner time.

    1. James Levy

      Excellent points. The deeper issue may be one brought up in the book The Reactionary Mind that all forms of conservatism are in the end a defense of privilege. They don’t want to go after the rich and powerful because they either are rich and powerful already or they covet the perks of being rich and powerful. These are people who worship a certain kind of authority and have never gotten on board with the Enlightenment notion that rules and standards are universal, the same for everyone. So if we use cluster bombs and depleted uranium in Iraq that’s just fine but if the Russians were to do so in Georgia that would be a sign of their evil and depravity. If a rich man games the system he’s admirably clever; if a poor man games the system and gets a little extra from Uncle Sam he’s a cheat who should be thrown in jail and lose his right to vote.

      I think that for most conservatives, it’s that simple.

    2. Mcmike

      Indeed. I might add that the “fraud in the voting booth” is too generous. Conservatives believe that the fact that blacks and liberals can vote at all as de facto fraud.

      You are absolutely right: the only thing that matters is seizing power to do what they want, and [importantly] not be told by others what to do.

      Don’t discount the power of this infantile/jeuvenile rage: “don’t tell me what to do,” a latent temper tantrum that dominates the physchology of the right.

  7. Mcmike

    1. Conservatives are authoritarians first. And of late particularly prone to Great Man (CEO) fetishes.

    2. Admitting control fraud requires admitting – like Greenspan – that they were wrong in the world view that they invested their entire career, the last forty years of public policy, their very being. That the free market is self policing.

    3. Conservatives who do recognize problems with control fraud still blame the government… “The government made them do it.” So, if there are to be prosecutions, it should be of the government.

    4. Control fraud theory also undermines the “Horatio algier” narrative. Admitting control fraud requires acknowledging that workers are not always in control of their destiny.

    1. RanDomino

      Precisely. For authoritarian-followers, it doesn’t matter how the powerful got that way. All that matters is if they can dole out favors and punishment.

  8. Richard Lyon

    It is necessary to understand the definition of creative destruction. It can only be performed by the hands of boldly innovative private entrepreneurs. Any action taken by government agencies, other than writing bailout checks, constitutes the repression of innovation.

    1. James Levy

      The disconnect is even deeper. These conservatives are always presenting themselves as champions of “the heartland”, yet their policies have virtually destroyed the entire yeoman farmer class and the local merchants (two conservative icons) in favor of agribusiness and the big box chain store. Whole swaths of the prairie have been depopulated, and many remaining towns are poor, rundown, and dependent on government farm subsidies and food stamps to hold on. It’s insane.

      1. Mcmike

        Vapid platitudes notwithstanding, what conservatives do is deconstruct.

        It’s one big temper tantrum.

        They talk about creative destruction, but what they really do is scorched earth destruction. Above all, they loathe any one who has achieved peace, security, belonging, or who actually longs to better themselves. One tin soldier.

        Name one thing of value that conservatives created (without standing on other’s backs). Name on human achievement that has cons have been on the right side of.

    1. Nathanael

      Oh, you can find such a conservative.

      Such a person will have been blacklisted from the Republican Party. He or she will have been referred to as an “extreme liberal”, and may well be described as “on the far left of the Democratic Party”.

      Frankly, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel are that kind of conservative.

      Something really crazy happened to the political definition of “conservative”.

      As the bumper sticker asks: What are conservatives conserving?

  9. allcoppedout

    I’m with Bill on the criminality and need to prosecute it. The situation across our organisations is similar to that of Serpico – the corruption is in so deep there is no one to trust. In the UK we have a cycle (about 30 years)of distrust in how our police are regulated. We have reviews and then set up a ‘new way of regulation’ – always just like the old one. The current lot are called the IPCC – Independent Police Complaints Commission or Incompetent Poodles of Constabulary Corruption to taste. Across our public bodies much the same is true. Regulation is essentially set up to conceal the problems that should be in public scrutiny. Take a look at how Dodd-Frank was goosed in the process of setting it up (Rolling Stone somewhere).

    We have an example here of just how dire our regulatory practices are – the Hillsborough disaster. It happened about a quarter of a century ago and we are just learning the truth – again very slowly. Huge numbers of police statements were altered in the cover up and then even more in the supposed “independent” investigation by another force. The cover up essentially continues under the IPCC, because of the on-going time delays and lack of signs of any prosecution.

    We need to establish a model of regulation in practice, its theories-in-action across our society to be able to bring what is a massive control fraud to an end. Broken windows policing is a good example to look at – as long as you don’t think this is just about getting cops to put minor offences into due process – it is actually a massive root and branch reorganisation.

  10. washunate

    Professor, you have done a great job bringing attention to fraud over the years.

    So why the faux confusion over definitions? The elite oppose prosecuting the elite.


    It was Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress that passed EESA and FISAAA and said look forward not backward and so forth.

  11. Bridget

    “This is one of the many critical areas in which people of different political views should be able to find common cause.”

    It certainly is. And what better way to find common cause with conservatives than to pose a rhetorical question like “Why do conservatives oppose prosecuting elite corporate frauds?”, fail to present any documentation of conservatives opposing the prosecution of elite corporate frauds, and ignore the fact that the job of prosecuting elite corporate frauds happens to be in the hands of Democrats? :(

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