Monday, April 01, 2013

the love of money IS the root of all kinds of evil...,



newscientist | ROB a bank and you risk a long stretch in jail. Run a bank whose dubious behaviour leads to global economic collapse and you risk nothing of the sort, more likely a handsome pay-off.

Illegal and dangerous mistakes associated with the financial industry have caused serious harm to US and world economies. That is beyond doubt. And the scandals keep coming – rate rigging, money laundering, mis-selling and sanctions busting. The wider backlash against the industry shows no sign of easing.

So given the scale of damage and public anger, fuelled by the industry's bonus culture, it is curious that those responsible have largely avoided punishment in the traditional judicial sense, despite the clamour for it.

That we so want those involved to get their just deserts has its roots in ancient human forms of social control, which led to our modern sense of morality.

In their rudimentary, hunter-gatherer forms, crime and punishment surely go back for tens of millennia. The case has been made that by 45,000 years ago, or possibly earlier, people were practising moralistic social control much as we do.

Without exception, foraging groups that still exist today and best reflect this ancient way of life exert aggressive surveillance over their peers for the good of the group. Economic miscreants are mainly bullies who use threats or force to benefit themselves, along with thieves and cheats.

All are free-riders who take without giving, and all are punished by the group. This can range from mere criticism or ostracism to active shaming, ejection or even capital punishment. This moral behaviour was reinforced over the millennia that such egalitarian bands dominated human life.

Then around 12,000 years ago, larger, still-egalitarian sedentary tribes arrived with greater needs for centralised control. Eventually clusters of tribes formed authoritative chiefdoms. Next came early civilisations, with centrally prescribed and powerfully enforced moral orders. One thing tied these and modern, state-based moral systems to what came before and that was the human capacity for moral indignation. It remains strong today.

So there is an inevitable outcry when bankers seem to "get away with it", offending this instinctive moral corrective sense.

And ultimately, such public opinion should strongly influence how we police fiscal deviants – but there are complicating factors that suggest this instinct is being undermined when it comes to taming the most harmful behaviour in the banking world.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

can you buy tramadol online legally what does tramadol 50 mg do to you - is tramadol online legal

The MSM Is Accidentally On-Purpose Throwing In The Towel On Biden

kunstler  |    “Biden’s most important achievements may be that he rescued the presidency from Trump, resumed a more traditional style of...