How They Got Away With It: White Collar Criminals and the Financial Meltdown

How They Got Away With It: White Collar Criminals and the Financial Meltdown

Susan Will

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 023115691X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A team of scholars with backgrounds in criminology, sociology, economics, business, government regulation, and law examine the historical, social, and cultural causes of the 2008 economic crisis. Essays probe the workings of the toxic subprime loan industry, the role of external auditors, the consequences of Wall Street deregulation, the manipulations of alpha hedge fund managers, and the "Ponzi-like" culture of contemporary capitalism. They unravel modern finance's complex schematics and highlight their susceptibility to corruption, fraud, and outright racketeering. They examine the involvement of enablers, including accountants, lawyers, credit rating agencies, and regulatory workers, who failed to protect the public interest and enforce existing checks and balances. While the United States was "ground zero" of the meltdown, the financial crimes of other countries intensified the disaster. Internationally-focused essays consider bad practices in China and the European property markets and draw attention to the far-reaching consequences of transnational money laundering and tax evasion schemes. By approaching the 2008 crisis from the perspective of white collar criminology, contributors build a more general understanding of the collapse and crystallize the multiple human and institutional factors preventing capture of even the worst offenders.

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influence prices. In a boom economy, with great demand for high-quality real estate, prices may easily “explode.” In the Dutch real estate industry, three major developments took place during the last decade. First, due to a substantial increase in (wealthy) private investors and private investment funds, the composition of the market significantly changed. After a precipitous drop in stock market prices at the beginning of this millennium, many private investors changed course and switched to

for bribing or accepting bribes is a married male over 30 years of age. Bribe givers tend to work for private companies; bribe takers generally come from the lower or higher ranks of public services. Data also tell us that the bribe taker usually is a local government official or works in one of the various Portuguese police forces.14 In the most common scenario, the bribe or associated gift is of small value, under ₠100 (approximately $135),15 and it is usually offered for the purpose of getting

makes the important point that with the U.S. government so impossibly intertwined with the goals, motives, and culture of the financial economy, the people have lost the guardian of their supposed interests. Thus, we have moved irrevocably from a government of, by, and for the people to one that is beholden to the profit-based diktats of financial corporations, stockholder interests, and the well-connected individuals who occupy America’s boardrooms, many of whom now seem to routinely shuttle

bodies in the physical universe. Such an expression of physics envy has its parallels in the positivist movement in the other social “sciences” (see Young 2011). It is particularly prevalent in economics because of the easy availability of regular numerical data. The common tendency is to create a model abstracted from reality and to believe that human behavior can be predicted from its constellation of determinants. Orthodox economics is the most developed and curious example of what C. Wright

is dangerously incomplete. For example, the act does not spell out how mortgages will be overseen by the CFPB. Indeed, almost every detail of its day-to-day operation will be left to the regulatory staff (still unhired when this was written) to work out. And as discussed below, this “working out” will occur out of the public view, even as the process is maximally exposed to lobbyist pressure. The FSOC is aimed at preventing the kinds of financial dealings that caused the bankruptcy of so many

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