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Crime and Capitalism

Sam Seder and Matt Taibbi have some fun at the expense of some jerk-weed commentators on CNBC (see below).  How in the world do you defend a detestable crook like Jamie Dimon who has cheated and robbed so many people, and wreaked so much economic damage on the entire country while lining his and his pals pockets with billions of dollars?  These folks on CNBS clearly are totally devoid of any morals or ethics.

That said, though, they do have a valid point, one that I’ve preached about before (see here and here) — and that is that the sole objective of any corporation is to return a profit to share holders, period.  There is no social contract or any other such nonsense between a corporation and society.  Any time there’s a tradeoff between what’s good for society and the country as a whole versus returning a profit, the corporation will and should choose the latter.

And that’s exactly what Dimon has done time and time again.  If he can find some way to manipulate the markets which he knows full well is illegal and for which he knows worst case he’ll get a slap on the wrist fine of maybe $750 million — when the profits he stands to make are in the billions — then he pretty much has a fiduciary responsibility to share holders to do the crime.  Bottom line he’ll make a huge profit, and to hell with all the people he hurts in the process.  That’s just the way modern capitalism works.

So the real problem here is not the Jamie Dimon’s of the world, it’s the American verison of capitalism.  There’s no oversight, no regulation, no downside to committing criminal acts in the name of profitability.  And long term, that’s a recipe for disaster, as corporations and the one-percenters that run them slowly destroy the country.  And no one seems to care.