We live in a society where white collar crime has never been higher, or more well protected.
Just read any book on the GFC or High Frequency Trading. You will quickly learn how so many became so rich at the expense of the hard working lower and middle class. Like you and me.
And no-one has been charged with committing any crime.
In the GFC companies (driven by individuals within them) made junk loans to people they knew were never going to pay them back. They then packaged them up and called them A+ secure, sold them to other investors for huge commissions then bet on those same junk loans defaulting.
And yet we still listen to those corrupt ratings agencies, Standard and Poor and Moodys, and the ratings they put on investments today. Why? Because the corrupr at the top welcomed them back with open arms as being fellow greedy and unlawful money makers, just like them.
They made millions, some billions, and yet no-one was held accountable.
Indeed the senior ezexutives of companies they knew were going to collapse, sold their company for a bargain price but not before they votes themselves huge bonuses. These bonuses were then paid by the US government bailout funds. Tax dollars of individuals put to good use…NOT.
As soon as the GFC was exploding around them the same firms started high frequency trading. I will not attempt to explain it in detail here, because not even some of those who participated do not know how it works. Suffice it to say that the big end of town were making stock trades that made them hundreds of millions while the average investor, often their own clients (people like you and me) lost everything.
Given these are only two situations that we actually know about, there must be many, many more. The current Royal Commission into the finance sector here in Australia has revealed much, but only because the Australian Government was forced kicking and screaming to agree to setup this investigation. They were trying to protect their mates.
Is it a coincidence that our Prime Minister made a fortune as a merchant banker and therefore would have countless contacts, friends, amongst the senior executives now being investigated?
As disgusting as all these examples are, I now believe that the ease that people and businesses can make themselves richer and the poor (us) poorer, we are actually fortunate it doesn’t happen more often.
If you read enough books, and get a pool of money together through friends, family and a few acquaintances you too can rip people off to your benefit.
So as bad as it is, and it is pretty damn bad, I actually believe we are lucky more people do not succumb to this temptation.
Corruption in our society starts at the top with heads of big business and political parties, and as proven many times over the fish rots from the head. So they are setting us all an example that we could easily follow. That example is greed.
Yet approximately only the top 5% do so. It should be more widespread but I do not believe it is. Why? Because the majority of people have ethics and morals that prevent them from acting as decedantly and greedily.
Yes, we live in bad times like never before as the gap between rich and poor grows by the hour.
However I like to believe that it could be a lot, lot worse and will stand with those trying desperately to shine light into dark corners.
Because greed is not hard wired into our system, helping others is.
I just hope there are enough of us to stem the growing tide.