Sunday, March 22, 2009

Don't Excuse Immoral Looters

I believe those that loot should held responsible for their actions. It is not the fault of international aid donors that Mobutu Sese Seko (widely credited with behavior responsible for inspiring the term: kleptocracy) looted the money meant to help starving people. It is not the fault of government that they don't manage to outlaw and then enforce those laws against all unethical and immoral behavior.

There are too many in the USA to determine which CEOs and board members are most responsible for the current corporate kleptocracy mentality. There are legal boundaries (widely broken in recent decades) where that kleptocracy so far exceeds the self serving behavior of many CEOs that legal action is obviously correct. However, prosecution of CEOs for stealing millions seems to be less supported by those who golf with them than prosecution some kid who stole a few hundred dollars. But even more important is the failure of those that support the unethical and immoral behavior regardless of legal action.

Yes government is partially responsible for not policing corrupt dictators better. And yes government is partially responsible for not enforcing laws in support of regulated markets that capitalism requires (regulating negative externalities like systemic risk, exploiting monopoly profits, pollution...). Looting corporations is mainly a problem of the entitled elite conspiring to take what isn't theirs. In my opinion this huge failure of our society is mainly a problem that needs to be addressed by not accepting such immoral and unethical behavior, not laws against excessive taking by CEO's and executives of the wealth created by companies.

Those responsible for encouraging the moral and ethical failures of our "leaders" are those "leading" citizens sitting on corporate boards and approving the looting. And those lawyers arguing for, approving, and defending such unethical pay for big pay in return. And "experts" making cases for such ludicrous pay packages in return for big pay. And those that encourage the looting by including the looters in their high society in ways that they probably would not include Mobutu Sese Seko (though honestly their behavior makes that highly questionable - maybe they would include him).

I image those that welcome the looters would not support those using child labor in factories (even if say that was not illegal in some country in which they exploited the laws for their benefit). Plenty of things are unacceptable even if they are not illegal. Yet these supporters of looters want to be forgiven for welcoming looters since, well all their buddies at the exclusive country club loot, so I can't possibly expect ethical behavior for any of them.

Even more dis-heartening are foundations, charities, educational institutions that welcome looters without any question of their ethical and moral failures. Those supporting the looters are responsible for their behavior. They are not excused because others also support the immoral behavior. And we should make it any easier for them to excuse themselves for their encouragement of such unethical behavior.

In response to: Stop Blaming AIG

Related: CEO's Plundering Corporations for Personal Benefit - Why Pay Taxes or be Honest - Obscene CEO Pay - Businesses Tell the IRS They Are Not American but Executives Stay in USA - Losses Covered Up to Protect Bonuses - Super Spoiled Brats

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