Feb 3 2009, 11:02 PM
It's like the proverbial tree in the forest: if some bad financial decisions are made but there are no regulations to govern them, does that make the resulting financial collapse criminally prosecutable?
Feb 3 2009, 11:20 PM
This is a debate. You have to support why you think that way.
Feb 3 2009, 11:33 PM
With what do you propose we charge the financial services executives? They made a lot of bad decisions, yes, but we can't really legislate bad decision-making. Everyone makes bad decisions. We can argue that the the executives should have realized they were making bad decisions that could lead to financial collapse, but I still don't see any obvious negligence in their decisions. Greed, yes; stupidity, yes; out-and-out negligence, no. Secondly, while I believe the corporations are mostly to blame, let's not forget that part of the housing bubble was caused by individuals who took out loans that they could certainly not afford, thus making poor financial decisions as well. But again, I think it would be wrong to charge them with anything, for obvious reasons.
The bigger issue here is accountability, something that the executives still haven't really grasped. Ultimately, as the chiefs of their respective corporations, they are responsible for the success or ruin of the company; and when one is responsible for losing billions of dollars, one should think twice before accepting a large bonus or other perks, since those bonuses are rewards for success, not failure. It seems, however, that the executives don't want to be held accountable for their poor decision-making.
Feb 3 2009, 11:49 PM
I completely agree with you, Michael. I don't have any recommendations as to with what they should be charged (other than criminal negligence, but that probably wouldn't stick). I wanted to ask the question because I heard Rachel Maddow pondering it on her show earlier and I came to the same conclusion you reached.
Feb 12 2009, 12:14 AM
Unfortunately the superpowers who control many governments across the world will never be held accountable. In fact... we'll more than likely never know who these people are. We're just now learning about all the politicians/government officials who didn't pay their taxes.