Tag Archives: gresham’s dynamic

Bank Leaders Condemn Themselves

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: Valentine’s Day 2015

If you inhabit the reality-based universe you know that finance has become a parasite that is a leading threat to our economies and democracies. A series of financial regulators – each of them infamous for their slavish apologias for bankers and banking – now admit that our most elite banks and bankers have created corrupt cultures that have turned the world’s largest banks into the world’s largest criminal enterprises.

How have top bank leaders reacted to this corruption? There is a new report out that asked bank leaders that question.

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Oral Testimony of William K. Black

Note: This oral testimony was delivered on February 5, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland before the Oireachtas’ Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis.  These are my prepared remarks.  My actual oral testimony differed considerably.  A transcript is available from the Inquiry, as is complete video.

To:       Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis
From:   William K. Black
Date:     February 3, 2015

Oral Testimony of William K. Black

Introduction

Thank you for the invitation to assist Ireland as you face among the most important questions Ireland and many other nations must answer correctly if we are to put a stop to our recurrent, intensifying financial crises. I am William K. Black and I come to you wearing four disciplinary and three institutional “hats.” My primary appointment is in economics with a joint appointment in law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I am a white-collar criminologist and a former senior financial regulator. My research specialties include elite white-collar crime and corruption, regulation, and financial crises. I am the Distinguished Scholar in Residence for Financial Regulation at the University of Minnesota’s Law School. I am a professor at the Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales es la Universidad de Posgrado del Estado in Quito, Ecuador. My testimony, of course, is solely my personal views rather than the official position of any of these universities.

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The Second Circuit Makes Sophisticated Insider Trading the Perfect Crime

By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: December 10, 2014

We know that insider trading is an activity in which cheaters prosper. We know that Wall Street and the City of London are dominated by a fraudulent culture and we know that firm culture is set by the officers that control the firm. We know that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has allowed that to occur by refusing to prosecute any of the thousands of senior bank officers who became wealthy by leading the three most destructive financial fraud epidemics (appraisals, “liar’s” loans, and fraudulent sales of these fraudulently originated mortgages to the secondary market) in history. No one is surprised that Wall Street’s elites have also engaged in widespread efforts to rig the stock markets so that they can shoot fish in the barrel through insider trading. Unlike the three fraud epidemics, one DOJ office, the Southern District of New York, has brought a series of criminal prosecutions against these officers.

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Cochrane Demands that the Public Unilaterally Disarm while the Banksters Loot

By William K. Black
San Francisco, CA: November 19, 2014

(I’m participating in the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology. I presented Wednesday on a panel honoring the 75th anniversary of Edwin Sutherland’s announcement of the concept of white-collar crime.)

 

John Cochrane has written an article with an initial sentence that should spark broad agreement: “confiscating wealth is ultimately about political power.” The banksters who led the frauds that caused the financial crisis “confiscate[ed]” immense wealth from the public and “their” firms’ customers, creditors, and shareholders. They did so with nearly complete impunity, which is “ultimately about political power,” indeed it defines the extraordinary nature of their power. The banksters’ confiscation of wealth has caused a dramatic increase in inequality, which has exacerbated the banksters’ domination of the levers of power. In a prior article, Cochrane stated that the financial crisis was driven by runs on financial institutions and that the runs were typically driven by elite accounting fraud.

“Not for nothing have most runs been sparked by an accounting scandal or fraud.”

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Let’s Call It What It Is – Murder

By William K. Black
Kilkenny, Ireland: November 8, 2014

Clarence Ditlow and Ralph Nader wrote a column in the New York Times on October 29, 2014 that should be reread in light of the November 6, 2014 NYT article’s subsequent revelations about the Takata’s cover up of sometimes lethal defects in its airbags – a cover up that reportedly continued for over a decade.

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Penny Hoarders: A Contemporary Example of a Problem with a Gold/Silver Standard

By Eric Tymoigne

Yesterday National Public Radio ran a segment on penny hoarders. These are people whose hobby is to hoard pre-1982 pennies. Some even go to their local banks and ask to convert dollar bills into pennies and then spend their evenings triaging boxes of pennies. Why would they do that would you ask? Well, pre-1982 pennies are made mostly of copper and, given the price of a pound of copper tripled over the past ten years, the face value of a penny is half the value of the content of copper: face value is 1 cent, intrinsic value is 2 cents. 100% profit from selling pennies for their copper content!

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Let’s End Politico and Deal Book’s “Competition in Sycophancy”

By William K. Black

Politico has joined Deal Book in a “competition in sycophancy.”  The contestants are competing to see which can author the most extreme version of a fantasy meme in which heroic Wall Street “banks” are oppressed by “Washington.”  I had not believed that any “serious” journalist could compete with Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Deal Book in pounding this meme.  Ben White, Politico’s economics reporter, has become my dark horse favorite in the race to the bottom of the “serious” business press with his whitewash entitled “How Washington beat Wall Street.”

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Larry Summers’ Take on Efficient Markets and Regulators: Brilliance v. Idiots

By William K. Black
(cross posted from Benzinga.com)

Perhaps the only useful thing to come out of the Obama administration’s inept contest between Larry Summers and Janet Yellen as Ben Bernanke’s successor is the purported agreement among economists and other policy makers that the Fed Chair should make the introduction of effective regulation and supervision by the Federal Reserve a top priority.  It would be even better if this agreement were real and would be sustained.  Regulation and supervision have never risen above tertiary concerns at the Fed and every institutional pressure will push the new Fed Chair to ignore supervision.  

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Why did the Fed Refuse to Heed the Appraisers, Prosecutors, and Industry’s Fraud Warnings?

By William K. Black

The Appraisers’ Warning of the Lenders’ Fraud Epidemic

Two of my recent columns have explained the effort by a very large number of appraisers to combat the “Gresham’s” dynamic that home lenders and their agents were deliberately generating by extorting appraisers to inflate appraisals.  A “Gresham’s” dynamics perverts market forces.  When cheaters prosper the markets drive honest firms and professionals out of business. Honest appraisers tried to block this dynamic.

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Why Do the Folks Who Make Booze Care More about their Reputations than the Bankers?

By William K. Black
(Cross posted at Benzinga.com)

There are many forms of control fraud.  I have written primarily about accounting control frauds because they drive our recurrent, intensifying financial crises and we are in the midst of the worst such crisis in modern history.  I wrote recently about the intersection of anti-purchaser and anti-employee control fraud in Bangladesh that killed 1,127 employees (and injured roughly twice that number) and made the point that control frauds kill and maim more people than traditional blue collar crimes and cause greater financial losses than all other forms of property crime combined.  Control frauds also cause a greater number of crimes than do traditional blue collar crimes.  Think for example of the number of victims of the Libor scams, measuring in the hundreds of thousands and the foreclosure frauds.

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