LAJ ARTICLES

An economy in shambles. Has the ability to self-correct been taken away?

the elites have destroyed the status quos ability to self correct 64

For any system to endure, it must maintain a built-in capacity to self-correct: that is, it must generate accurate informational feedback about dangerous asymmetries and auto-correct with behavioral feedback.
This is true of ecosystems and enterprises as well as political/social systems.
1. The information feedback is no longer accurate because self-serving interests manipulate the data to maintain whatever narrative/data-flow supports their power, wealth and income.Human systems can lose the ability to self-correct in three basic ways.
2. Self-serving interests limit any behavioral feedback that threatens their power, wealth and income.
3. Those in positions of responsibility who are tasked with managing behavioral feedback are no longer accountable, so the needed behavioral feedback fails.
Self-serving interests committed to protecting their power, wealth and income have destroyed our economic-political system’s ability to self-correct. There are many examples of these three dynamics; here are a few.
A law enforcement/judiciary system that has plenty of resources to pursue a costly, destructive, failed War on Drugs, but no resources to pursue white-collar financial crime. Have a low-level drug dealer in your sights? Hey, the DEA et al. have essentially unlimited resources to nail the perp: SWAT teams, surveillance, helicopters, you name it.
But when a bank embezzles/defrauds to the tune of $100 million, law enforcement and the judiciary throw up their hands: it’s too complicated and costs too much. Really? So there’s billions of dollars available to bust small-time drug dealers, but only pennies to pursue financial criminals stealing billions?
Financial rackets, fraud and embezzlement are now rewarded rather than punished. If a bank scams $100 million by rigging a market (for example), if the Feds even catch on the fine is a measely $10 million.
In effect, finance-based criminals are being told: go ahead and run your rackets–we’ll impose a 10% fee on your skim.
Corporate-white-collar criminality is pervasive. Please read No Wrongdoing Here, Just 6,300 Corporate Fines and Settlements (May 2015):
I am honored to share a remarkable data base of Corporate Fines and Settlements from the early 1990s to the present compiled by Jon Morse. Here is Jon’s description of his project to assemble a comprehensive list of all corporate fines and settlements that can be verified by media reports:
“This spreadsheet is all the corporate fines/settlements I’ve been able to find sourced articles about, mostly in the period from the 1990’s up to today (with a few 80’s and 70’s). This is by far the most comprehensive list of such things online. At least that I could find, because the lack of any decent list is what made me start compiling this list in the first place.”
What struck me was the sheer number of corporate violations of laws and regulations–thousands upon thousands, the vast majority of which occurred since corporate profits began their incredible ascent in the early 2000s–and the list of those paying hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and settlements, which reads like a who’s who of Corporate America and Top 100 Global Corporations.
I encourage you to open one of the three alphabetical tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet on Google Docs and scroll down to find your favorite super-profitable corporation.
Many have a long list of fines and settlements, and many of the fines are in excess of $100 million. Many are for blatant cartel price-fixing, not disclosing the dangers of the company’s heavily promoted medications, destroying documents to thwart an investigation of wrong-doing, etc.
In other words, these were not wrist-slaps for minor oversights of complex regulations— these are blatant violations of core laws of the land.
The middle class has been so diminished, it has lost its essential function as a political counter-balance to the financial-political elites.
The End?

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