The individual actions of members of institutions have led to much distrust and a battered economy.
One subheading from washingtonsblog in an article entitled Lack of Trust--Caused by Institutional Corruption--Is Killing the Economy expresses an idea that makes sense; that is, Prosecuting the Criminals Is Necessary to Restore Trust. An excerpt follows:
Lack of Trust--Caused by Institutional Corruption--Is Killing the Economy
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Prosecuting the Criminals Is Necessary to Restore TrustNobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that we have to prosecute fraud or else the economy won’t recover:
The legal system is supposed to be the codification of our norms and beliefs, things that we need to make our system work. If the legal system is seen as exploitative, then confidence in our whole system starts eroding. And that’s really the problem that’s going on.Robert Shiller said recently that failing to address the legal issues will cause Americans to lose faith in business and the government:
I think we ought to go do what we did in the S&L [crisis] and actually put many of these guys in prison. Absolutely. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents. There were victims. That’s the point. There were victims all over the world.
Economists focus on the whole notion of incentives. People have an incentive sometimes to behave badly, because they can make more money if they can cheat. If our economic system is going to work then we have to make sure that what they gain when they cheat is offset by a system of penalties.
Shiller said the danger of foreclosuregate — the scandal in which it has come to light that the biggest banks have routinely mishandled homeownership documents, putting the legality of foreclosures and related sales in doubt — is a replay of the 1930s, when Americans lost faith that institutions such as business and government were dealing fairly.Economists such as William Black and James Galbraith agree. Galbraith says:
There will have to be full-scale investigation and cleaning up of the residue of that, before you can have, I think, a return of confidence in the financial sector. And that’s a process which needs to get underway.Galbraith also says that economists should move into the background, and “criminologists to the forefront”.
Government regulators know this – or at least pay lip service to it – as well. For example, as the Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division told Congress:
Read the whole article hereRecovery from the fallout of the financial crisis requires important efforts on various fronts, and vigorous enforcement is an essential component, as aggressive and even-handed enforcement will meet the public’s fair expectation that those whose violations of the law caused severe loss and hardship will be held accountable. And vigorous law enforcement efforts will help vindicate the principles that are fundamental to the fair and proper functioning of our markets: that no one should have an unjust advantage in our markets; that investors have a right to disclosure that complies with the federal securities laws; and that there is a level playing field for all investors.