HSBC is too big to jail

HSBC spent years laundering money for terrorist groups and drug cartels, with the complicity of top executives, and they will not be prosecuted, because they’re too important to the global economy, or some such bollocks.  Instead the bank will be fined the equivalent of one month’s worth of profits.  The plutocrats are above the law.  This story doesn’t end well.  For any of us.

A Little White Lie-Bor

Turns out the world’s megabanks have engaged in a rate-fixing fraud for years.  The London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is an interest rate index that literally hundreds of trillions of dollars in financial instruments are pegged to.  And how is it set?  Well, someone phones up 18 duuudes around London every day and says “Yo, if you were gonna borrow money from some other bank right now, what rate would they charge you?”  And they can answer with whatever wild-ass-guess they want.  So they lied, in order to make themselves more money.  Shocking, I know.  Seems like the one thing you can trust banks to do is cheat when given the opportunity.

PLoS ONE: The Network of Global Corporate Control

The Network of Global Corporate Control, as revealed by a research group at ETH Zurich (kind of the Swiss MIT).  Their core finding: a densely connected “super entity” of 147 corporations, about 75% of which are financial intermediaries, has an amount of control which is ~10 times as great as their economic scale would suggest.  They are all majority owned by by other members of the super entity, and so have co-incident interests, and are likely to act as a bloc to protect themselves and each other, and to be subject to simultaneous group failure when under duress.  Not like this is a huge surprise or anything, but it’s nice to see it described in a quantitative framework.

Wall Street Isn’t Winning, It’s Cheating

Matt Taibbi blows his stack at a fellow commentator who accuses the OWS protestors of simply being envious of the rich.  He gives a litany of examples of how, in fact, the Wall St. illuminati have gotten to where they are by cheating and gaming the system, or at the very best, by being lucky.  Not through hard work or supernatural skill.  Being pissed off about that isn’t being jealous of someone else’s success.  At what point do the “deviant” and “legitimate” financial sectors simply merge, with little to nothing in the way of externally imposed rules governing what’s acceptable, and what’s not?

The capitalist network that runs the world

A team at the Swiss equivalent of MIT has revealed a dense knot of power and ownership interconnections within a particular subset of the world’s transnational corporations.  It will come as no surprise that these companies are overwhelming financial firms… but this is the first time that anyone has really been able to lay out the structure of this network of power that runs the world in detail, accounting for all of the subsidiary ownerships and mutual shareholding.  Tyler Durden would be inspired.  The research paper will be published in PLoS One here Real Soon Now.

Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?

Nobody from Wall St. but Bernie Madoff is going to jail.  No wonder the banksters continue their trillion dollar white collar crime spree.  They and their regulators are one in the same.  Favorite quote from a congressional staffer: “You put Lloyd Blankfein in pound-me-in-the-ass prison for one six-month term, and all this bullshit would stop, all over Wall Street. That’s all it would take. Just once.”  Meanwhile we jail a mom in Ohio for trying to send her kid to a better school across town.