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Call the Cops

I was reading a book recently about big business in Canada. What struck me was how much of it involved smoke and mirrors. Companies were taken over using money that didn’t exist. Bending the rules and pushing the envelope strayed on far too many occasions into criminality. Company executives seemed to decide that the law didn’t apply to them. That got me thinking me about the teetering world of high finance. Conventional wisdom seems to be that to prosecute white collar crime would cause a catastrophic loss of confidence in financial markets. I remember hearing a former City of London broker admit on the radio a couple of years back that he and all of his colleagues regularly broke the law. I thought at the time that criminal prosecutions might have actually restored confidence: I don’t remember any. Now it seems that the bankers learned nothing from the financial crisis triggered by the US mortgage market collapse – except that the “too big to fail” ploy might not work again. Perhaps it’s time to call the cops.

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