With all the talk about corporate greed and abuse and the failings of capitalism, I think it’s important to point out that not everything done in the name of wealth accumulation is “good and great” to the capitalist. There still is the explicit expectation that law and order rule the day. That contracts are acknowledged. That there be enforcement of those contracts. That property rights exist. And again, that the protection of those rights is guaranteed by the state.
There are bad actors in capitalism.
There are people who, in the pursuit of more and more, will engage in illicit and illegal activity. They may steal, they may lie or defraud, they may commit other crimes that we all acknowledge are just that, crimes.
For example, even as we defend the capitalists during the housing boom and bust, we are willing to see criminal charges brought against those that actually did break the law:
(Reuters) – In a rare criminal prosecution to emerge from the financial crisis, two former Credit Suisse traders admitted on Wednesday to conspiring to manipulate the value of about $3 billion in subprime mortgage-backed securities in order to hide losses as the U.S. real estate market began to collapse in 2007.
The men, London-based David Higgs, 42, and Salmaan Siddiqui, 36, of McLean, Virginia, pleaded guilty in U.S. district court in New York to a criminal charge of conspiracy to falsify books and records and commit wire fraud.
These men broke well understood laws. They represented as true things that weren’t. And for that they should be prosecuted. No one disputes this. In fact, it brings to mind a past post where Tarheel calls out greed:
GREED: That condition, wherein an individual or organization, willfully attempts to accumulate more of a “thing”, be it money, power or prestige, by restricting the Rights and Liberties of another individual or organization.
No one enjoys the man that breaks the law, even if he’s doing it to make money.