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From: The Socialist issue 509, 8 November 2007: Sick of the profit system? Come to Socialism 2007

Search site for keywords: Corporate crime

Comment

Corporate crime: Sign of an out-of-control economy

THE CAPITALIST press expressed shock and condemnation recently as three businessmen, directors of Independent Insurance which collapsed in 2001, were facing prison sentences for conspiracy to defraud. The three had used off balance-sheet accounting and other tricks to hide the fact that the company was in serious financial trouble.

Iain Dalton

Whenever a case like this comes to court, the capitalist press always tries to make it seem like a freak occurrence, due to a few 'bad eggs', but are occurrences like this quite so rare?

The collapse of US energy giant Enron was due to similar circumstances with certain traders being encouraged to take 'risks' to maximise their 'reward'.

Due to the competitive nature of free-market capitalism, companies feel forced to take ever bigger gambles to increase their profits. As in all gambles some people lose and then, in cases like this, try and hide their mistakes in the hope that it will all work out okay.

Furthermore cases like this are endemic. PricewaterhouseCoopers' recently released global economic crime survey showed that 48% of British corporations had suffered from some sort of economic crime in the last two years.

The capitalist press' main gripe is that the three directors of Independent Insurance misled 'the City'. Only after this do they comment on the over 1,000 staff who were made redundant, many of whose savings were wrapped up in company share schemes.

In all situations like this, where companies collapse, it is the working class that suffers the most. Meanwhile Michael Bright, one of the businessmen, has managed to keep his three homes and live off a 3 million pension pot despite bankruptcy!

Capitalism is a blind system, with the world's resources being used to create even greater profits for the wealthy, whilst failing to provide for many people's needs.

The capitalist press are complaining of these three businessmen's crimes. But they can't hide the fact that the capitalist economy is to a great extent out of control. The surest way to end corporate crime is by building a socialist society.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

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