Posts Tagged ‘HSBC Money Laundering’

Liberals, big business and big government

December 17, 2012

hsbc-sfSpanWe liberals see a strong government as necessary to protect individuals against the abuses of big corporations.  The problem is that government does not necessarily operate this way.  What we have in the United States today is government increasingly interfering in the lives of individual citizens, while giving free rein to the heads of large corporations.  A recent example of this was the decision of the U.S. Department of Justice to refrain from prosecuting executives of HSBC, a big international bank based in London, for laundering money of the drug cartels because that would be disruptive to the financial system.

It is a mistake to talk about “big government” and “big business” as if they were people.   They are organizational structures through which people can do bad things or good things, but very often can be shielded from the responsibility for the bad things they do.  You can’t punish an organizational structure, or hold it accountable.  Only the individual human beings within the structure are accountable.

Libertarians say that the only way to limit the abuses of government is to limit the authority of government.  They say that if you don’t want governmental officials to have the power to bail out banks, they shouldn’t have the authority to bail out anybody.  My problem with that argument is that this tradeoff isn’t on offer.  Cutting the Social Security pensions of 80-year-old widows won’t do a thing about bankers giving themselves bonuses with taxpayers’ bailout money.

Click on Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War Is a Joke for Matt Taibbi’s comment.