Now what if someone said "I want control of the world's currencies and interest rates, but I'm not going to take any responsibility for what happens to them." would you trust them to control the world's economies? You'd be a fool if you did, but that's exactly how the world works. People who take almost no responsibility for their actions wield enormous power over the world's financial systems, and the results are painfully predictable.
If nobody's held responsible, of course they're going to lie, cheat and steal. This isn't some conspiracy theory either, it's already been proven, it's exactly what's going on. Enormous power plus no responsibility equals corruption, plain and simple. Various conspiracies have already been exposed, the recent LIBOR and FOREX scams being some of the biggest ones. Banks were caught committing fraud on such a ridiculously large scale that it makes most of the other crimes in the world seem microscopic. And what happened after they got caught? They got relatively small fines...
― Chris Martenson
Imagine committing fraud that makes you $100 million, you get caught, then you get a $10 million fine and you're told not to do it again. No other penalties, no jail, you just have to promise that it won't happen again. Of course, that's not how it works for individuals, but it is exactly how it's been working for the big banks. They deeply regret having been caught, I mean, having committed the crime, and they promise not to do it again, just please don't jail anybody. The blame gets spread so thin that it's almost like the fraud happened by accident.
Now is that a real deterrent, especially for an amoral entity like a bank, that's driven almost entirely by greed? The banks will tell you the system works fine, and the economists who work for the banks all agree, but basic common sense says a relatively minor penalty for a major crime isn't going to prevent the crime from happening again. It's practically endorsing it.
I'm also being too generous in my portrayal of the world's governments in their response to these crimes. It's not: "We caught you committing a crime, here's your punishment." It's more like: "We caught you committing a crime, give us a cut of the profits and we'll call it even." The banks and your government are working together, and your government most likely represents the interests of the big banks even more than it represents its own citizens. Or maybe you think the millions they give your politicians doesn't achieve anything?
When the irresponsibility and greed of a few threaten everyone, there should be harsh penalties. This isn't some radical new idea, but very basic ideas of law and order that date back thousands of years. That's the whole rationale of legal penalties, they should be stiff enough to discourage illegal behavior, otherwise they won't work, and at least one country seems to understand this: Iceland, who has just sent its 26th banker to jail over the 2008 economic collapse. More from loansafe.org:
When Iceland’s three major banks collapsed, it resulted in defaults totaling $114 billion in a country with a gross domestic product (GDP) of only $19 billion. In October, 2008 the parliament passed emergency legislation to take over the domestic operations of the major banks and established new banks to handle them. They did not, however, take over any of the foreign assets or obligations. Those stayed with the original banks, right into bankruptcy.
They then brought charges against several banking executives for fraud and market manipulation, resulting in sentences ranging from four to five and a half years. As the special prosecutor said,
Why should we have a part of our society that is not being policed or without responsibility?
In the U.S., we simply tapped a few wrists with small fines, that ended up being paid by their respective banks.(Can you say “got off scot free?”)
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