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September 2, 2014

The Economist on ‘The Criminalization of American Business’

“America’s regulatory system,” writes The Economist, amounts to the “world’s most lucrative shakedown operation.”

That view is asserted in a new editorial in the magazine, entitled, “The criminalisation of American business.”

“The formula is simple,” continues the piece, “Find a large company that may (or may not) have done something wrong; threaten its managers with commercial ruin, preferably with criminal charges; force them to use their shareholders’ money to pay an enormous fine to drop the charges in a secret settlement (so nobody can check the details). Then repeat with another large company.”

The Economist points to recent federal settlements by Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and other banks.

“Justice should not be based on extortion behind closed doors,” concludes the editorial. “The increasing criminalisation of corporate behaviour in America is bad for the rule of law and for capitalism.”

Read the full editorial here.

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