Tag Archives: criminogenic environment

John Cochrane’s Witch Hunt for Witch Hunters

By William K. Black

John Cochrane is an economist at the University of Chicago.  The Wall Street Journal has just featured his op ed piece entitled “The Failure of Macroeconomics.”

I’ll focus on his foray into criminology as a component of economic growth. Cochrane’s column ignores the paramount role that the three epidemics of “accounting control fraud” played in hyper-inflating the bubble and causing the financial crisis – which cost over 10 million American jobs and a projected $21 trillion loss of production.  Instead, he claims that the economic recovery is weak because “Who wants to hire, lend or invest when the next stroke of the presidential pen or Justice Department witch hunt can undo all the hard work?”

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Survey of Bankers Unintentionally Documents their Depravity

By William K. Black

Makovsky is a PR group that specializes in representing banks.  Because of that dual specialization they should be the most skilled shills for fraudulent bankers that money can buy.  This fact makes their annual “reputation” survey delectable.  Each year, the survey unintentionally documents how depraved senior bankers are as a group.  They come to praise Caesar, but end up burying him in a garbage dump.

Here are key findings of their 2014 survey:

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Implicitly Assuming that the CEO is Not a Crook Misses the Problem

By William K. Black

Gretchen Morgenson has brought a revealing study to the attention of the public in her article entitled “The CEO is My Friend, So Back Off.”  Here’s the bad news – the situation is vastly worse than the authors of the study conclude and the policy advice that experts offered Morgenson in response to the findings would fail where they were most needed.

Morgenson begins her article by describing a recent speech by the head of the SEC to an audience containing many board directors.

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The Criminology of the “Sure Thing” Portrayed as “Risk”

By William K. Black

John Coates, a former derivatives trader at Goldman Sachs is now a researcher. He wrote a column in the New York Times entitled “The Biology of Risk” that I hope will be widely read.

In this column I explain why his most important conclusions cannot follow logically from his own description of his research finding. While he relies on blood tests, his account of trading when it goes horribly wrong is curiously bloodless and disingenuous. As a Goldman and Deutsche Bank refugee he knows better, but he presents a sanitized version of the crisis portraying the controlling officers and traders at the largest banks as helpless victims of raging hormones rather than fraud perpetrators and facilitators.

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Wall Street Crime and Misdeeds

NEP’s Bill Black appeared at the Unstoppable Right/Left Convergence event in Washington D.C. on May 27, 2014. He talked about Wall Street Crime and Misdeeds.

Madness Posing as Hyper-Rationality: OMB’s Assault on Effective Regulation

By William K. Black

In a rational world the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), under Presidents Bush and Obama, would have responded to the financial crisis by demanding an emergency effort as a top national priority to develop superb regulatory capacity in the financial sphere and in many other fields. Regular readers will recall the questions I emphasize we must answer – why do we suffer recurrent, intensifying financial crises? That may sound like one question, but it asks multiple questions. The two most critical are:

  • What is causing our financial crises?
  • Why are we failing to learn the correct lessons from the crises and instead making finance ever more criminogenic?

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It’s Good – no – Great to be the CEO Running a Huge Criminal Bank

By William K. Black

Every day brings multiple new scandals.  At least they used to be scandals.  Now they’re simply news items strained of ethical content by business journalists who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak not about evil.  The Wall Street Journal, our principal U.S. financial journal ran two such stories today.  The first story deals with tax evasion, and begins with this cheery (and tellingly inaccurate) headline: “U.S. Banks to Help Authorities With Tax Evasion Probe.”  Here’s an alternative headline, drawn from the facts of the article: “Senior Officers of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Aided and Abetted Tax Fraud by Wealthiest Americans, Failed to Make Required Criminal Referrals, and Demanded Immunity from Prosecution for Themselves and the Banks before Complying with the U.S. Subpoenas: U.S. Department of Justice Caves in to Banker’s Demands Continuing its Practice of Effectively Immunizing Fraud by Most Financial Elites.”

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CEO Pay is Perverse and Must be Fixed to Avoid Recurrent Crises

By William K. Black

Slate has published a piece by Zachary Karabell entitled “Stop Obsessing Over exorbitant CEO Pay” in which the author appears unaware that he has reported, and then ignored, evidence that scholars he cites favorably are “resoundingly convinced” proves the opposite.  Karabell’s author’s page shows that he has recently joined Slate and promotes theoclassical dogmas about economics.  He is a Wall Streeter of the kind that thinks it is an honor to be a “regular” on CNBC.  He also touts being a favorite of the Davos plutocrats.  In roughly a month with Slate he has managed to be an apologist for high unemployment, inequality, and high frequency trading (HFT) scams.

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Nobel Schizophrenia over the Georges: Stigler and Akerlof

By William K. Black

In a recent column I focused on three brief passages from George Akerlof and Paul Romer’s 1993 article (“Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit”) that had they been listened to would have prevented the fraud epidemics that drove our recent financial crises.

Here is one of those three passages.  Notice how unequivocal they were in their statements about causality.

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The Broader Costs of Lethal Lemons: “We Have so Many Ranas”

By William K. Black

This is the third article in a series on some of the additional lessons we should learn from the mass murder of Bangladeshi garment workers by anti-employee control frauds.  I discuss new allegations about the senior executives involved in producing the terrible loss of life and maiming of so many workers because they are relevant to the broader harms that control fraud can cause that I discussed in the first and second articles in this series. Continue reading