News & Analysis
Are Wall Streeters War Criminals?
Billions In Blood Money Enjoyed by War Criminals' Families ... While you might not see them on Forbes' list of wealthy people, criminals and their beneficiaries are some of the richest people on the planet. For example, Bloomberg alleges that the heirs of a prominent Nazi are billionaires who own half of BMW who are also closely connected with Daimler. Four of the heirs are worth $1.2 billion each, and much of their wealth allegedly came from slave labor at German concentration camps ... Indeed, given up to $32 trillion dollars are being hidden in offshore tax shelters, the amount of wealth accumulated through crime is nearly impossible to track. What should have happened, of course, is that ill-gotten gains should have been clawed back from the criminals as soon as they were discovered, just as they should be clawed back from Wall Street fraudsters. But that is not likely to happen, since many political and business leaders are unrepentant and unwilling to root out crime. – Washington's Blog
Dominant Social Theme: Wall Street criminals are just like war criminals.
Free-Market Analysis: Another brilliant analysis courtesy of Washington's Blog is circulating throughout the Internet. We've commented on Washington's Blog in the past because it is a peculiar if noteworthy hybrid ... an example of what we might call "governmental libertarianism."
Washington obviously accepts the idea of a market-based economy but he (we assume it is a "he") apparently believes that robust regulation – and criminal prosecution – is necessary to lubricate the workings of such an economy. He's been especially vocal in the past few years – along with at least one prominent prosecutorial lawyer – about the idea that not enough people have gone to jail for Wall Street's manifold sins.
We, too, find modern Wall Street distasteful. In many ways it is nothing but organized (and regulated) criminality. But we differ with Washington and others who believe the cure for Wall Street's current exploitation and greed is simply to send Wall Street crooks to jail. In our view, that won't change a thing. Nor will increased regulation, which has been tried before.
In fact, most Wall Streeters are just normal people, in our estimation. They've gone to work on the Street much in the same way that people go to work for law firms or public education.
There are certainly lawyers who steal and teachers who seek to install institutionalized abuse within their educational environments. But prosecuting and throwing lawyers into jail does nothing to cure a crooked system. Likewise, jailing teachers does not undo the corruption and misery of public schooling.
The focus on penal penalties, as we have pointed out before, shifts public attention away from the real problem. It also implicitly acknowledges that the current system is OK and ought to be used as it is. Yet the current US penal-gulag includes some six million people, something like half the world's imprisoned population, many of them jailed for nonsensical offenses like drug use.
Increasingly, US prisons are being privatized, which merely means monopoly operations are given private title. This is nothing like real privatization that includes competition. The kind of privatization taking place in the US simply results in increased efficiency due to prisoners being used as a kind of slave labor.
Eventually, there will be an outcry about this, though probably things will have to get worse before they get better. Currently, they are certainly trending "negative." Some one-third or more of US citizens are exposed to the criminal justice system by the time they are 25, we have read (and reported). Law enforcement in the US is increasingly brutal and the trends toward yet more incarceration and more slavery are seemingly unopposed.
This is the real shame of the US justice system – a system surely as evil, brutal and exploitative as any the world has ever seen. To call for its employment when it comes to Wall Street "crooks" is to some degree to avoid the reality of what US justice has become. Doing so provides credibility to a tool that should not be used in its current form.
Additionally, this article, excerpted above, begins to make the case that Wall Streeters are generally similar to war criminals. This is literally true from a historical perspective but even here we can make the link between Wall Street and the power elite that has organized the current environment and runs it.
It is the Bush family most prominently that has war ties, funding Hitler's Germany and provoking, eventually, such outrage that the family was stripped of its German assets early in the 1940s. There are surely other incidents of Wall Street's participation in the military-industrial complex but none perhaps so blatant.
Here's more from the article, mentioning the Bush family's culpability:
Barclays, Chase, and the Bush family also made money hand over fist financing Hitler. The Vatican has built a secret property empire worth close to a billion U.S. dollars using money Italian dictator Mussolini gave the church for blessing fascism.
Modern tyrants have gotten wealthy from oppressing people as well. For example, the family of U.S.-backed Egyptian dictator Mubarak holds $40-70 billion. Russian leader Putin also has a current net worth of $40 billion. (They pale in comparison to Libya's Gaddafi, worth $200 billion.)...
Indeed, when the elite profit from things such as laundering drug and terror money, funding both sides of wars and other unsavory acts, no one wants to stop the music.
Our main objection here is that even the political elites being mentioned (or those on Wall Street) are often NOT the real elite. Wall Street is actually a tool for the REAL elite – the power elite – that wants to run the world out of such city-states as the City of London, Washington DC, etc.
Also, the real issue when it comes to incarceration is not that the wealthy operate under different judicial rules but that those who endorse the state-as-it-is are the ones who are abnormally exempted.
If you work for government, wield government power or are in some other way affiliated with government or working in an industry (law, public education) that facilitates government goals, you are far less likely to experience the full force of modern US jurisprudence than someone perceived as working in a field that does not abet official objectives.
What are these objectives? Why, they are the objectives of the power elite that runs government behind the scenes. And that is the tiny club that ought to be identified – not so much for purposes of punishment as to ensure that people really understand what is taking place and who is responsible.
Calling for the jailing of Wall Streeters – or comparing them to war criminals – is probably satisfying from a rhetorical point of view. But it validates the US's prison-industrial complex and confuses people as to who is currently above the law (not wealthy people but those who abet Leviathan).
The people to blame for the current Decline of the West control the world's central banking and have created and control Wall Street. They wish for Wall Street to be blamed and prosecuted much as it was prosecuted back in the 1930s when the current dysfunctional regulatory configuration was created.
Conclusion: Prosecute Wall Street tycoons if you must but don't do so as a substitute for dealing with the real problem. Monopoly central banking is what really needs to be removed. Get rid of it, let monetary competition freely exist and much of Wall Street's abuses will subside without a single securities prosecution.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 02/01/13 01:04 PM
That is such a general question that no very specific answer would be adequate. Each currency could be thought of as a product in competition with other such products.
It would work in an enormous number of ways, many of which will not be thought of until they actually happen.
Posted by timoore on 02/01/13 07:28 AM
How would "monetary competition" work?
Reply from The Daily Bell
Different systems of money would compete with each other on a regional or electronic basis. This is actualy the norm, historicaly speaking.
Posted by HeywoodJablome on 01/31/13 04:50 PM
The system has failed, and like Humpty Dumpty cannot be put back together again. Although I recognize a good many of the failings, it is beyond my ken to solve the problem, beyond the familiar platitudes that those of us who yearn for a more freedom oriented, and principled world usually suggest. There are several individuals and participating cliques which I would like to see pay some penalty but I fear that in todays situation it would be like applying a band aid to a sucking chest wound, and the quantity of people who are responsible goes through decades and generations. Where to begin, Rothschild in the 1700's, I find it overwhelming to even contemplate.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 01/31/13 02:14 PM
That is funny Abu. I don't see why they would protest the loss of 3-400 jobs per year. With the world changing as it is, I also don't see how any bank can tell so precisely how many employees they will need next year, let alone in seven years.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 01/31/13 02:08 PM
Well stated DB. You have definitely advanced you basic argument with this article.
Posted by 1776 on 01/31/13 01:34 PM
How The Democrats Caused The Financial Crisis: Starring Bill Clinton's HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo And Barack Obama; With Special Guest Appearances By Bill Clinton And Jimmy Carter
Click to view link
Posted by Tazio2013 on 01/31/13 12:44 PM
Not quite on point but related and worth reading:
[Fiat Currency] War Games by Grant Williams - 01/29/13
But as I close this week I will leave the final word, appropriately enough, to the man whose book Currency Wars: The Makings of the Next Global Crisis is an absolute must-read on the subject - Jim Rickards:
(Yahoo): Germany made even bigger splash than Japan in the gold market recently with its surprise announcement last week that the Bundesbank would begin repatriating gold reserves held overseas. The central bank said it wanted to keep more than 50% of its gold reserves at home, up from slightly less than one-third currently. With that in mind, the Bundesbank will move all its gold reserves now held in Paris back to Germany, and reduce its reserves held in New York City.
'Germany is saying that gold is money,' says Jim Rickards... Otherwise... they would just leave the gold where it currently is stored. And Germany isn't alone. There's talk that the Netherlands and Azerbaijan will also repatriate gold reserves. China, the second largest global economy but the sixth largest holder of gold, according to the World Gold Council, is increasing its gold reserves, Rickards tells The Daily Ticker. 'If the Chinese repeat their pattern, I expect late this year or early 2014 the Chinese will announce, 'We've got 3,000 tons or maybe 4,000 tons.' That will be a shock because suddenly the world will wake up and say why is China buying all this gold?" says Rickards. He says the reason is obvious: 'Gold is the real base money.' 'In dollar terms gold hasn't gone up that much lately, but in yen terms - with the devaluation of the yen, gold is partly a function of the currency wars,' he says.
Yes Jim, gold is very much a part of Currency Wars, and the competition is just getting started.
'David Lightman: What is the primary goal?
Joshua: To win the game.'
- Dialogue, War Games
'I generally don't know how far things go, but I can see which way they are going.'
- George Soros
'The fact is, currency wars are fought globally in all major financial centers at once, twenty-four hours per day, by bankers, traders, politicians and automated systems - and the fate of economies and their affected citizens hang in the balance'
- Jim Rickards, Currency Wars
Posted by Abu Aardvark on 01/31/13 10:30 AM
LOL: "French Central Bank Workers Strike Over Job Cut Plans ... More than 1,500 employees were demonstrating Tuesday in Paris, union officials said, in a protest against a restructuring of the Banque de France that is expected to result in the loss of about 2,500 jobs by 2020. The bank currently employs around 13,000 full-time workers."
Click to view link