Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

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Mo
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Mo » 21 Aug 2018, 07:23

JasonL wrote:Broadly, fines do usually get assessed and paid. If you look at biggest fines they are in regulated industries like finance and pharma and in energy companies with environmental risk. We can say the magnitude of fines of the most egregious things should be larger - I have no problem with that discussion. The BP deal is a very large sum of money that strikes me as roughly appropriate given the size of the company impact etc. By comparison the BoA settlement and penalties for it's role in mortgage crisis was $16billion. Maybe that's not big enough? Stock was trading in the $50s in 2007. It was trading in the $6-15 zone in like 2012. Back up to $30 something now. So, was reputational hit and a decade of that kind of stock performance a slap on the wrist or a really big hit?
That seems like a bad comparison. 2007, their stock price was high because they were making money hand over fist on mortgages and mortgage bonds. That market is gone. IBM took a big hit after the internet bubble popped because the bubbly companies that were buying servers were no longer around. The market changed and stock prices changed accordingly. That has nothing to do with malfeasance or lack thereof.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JasonL » 21 Aug 2018, 07:26

Shem wrote:
lunchstealer wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 02:45
thoreau wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 02:35
The things that European countries do well could never work here, Shem. When someone praises it as socialist we say that it is actually capitalist, and when somebody asks if we could try their style of capitalism we say that it is actually socialist.
This is an effort to literally give the workers 40% control over the means of production, so ...
What's the difference between a union that represents the interests of workers and board representation that does the same thing?
A big difference, which is why you want it to happen.

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JasonL
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JasonL » 21 Aug 2018, 07:38

It occurs to me VW has this structure and ... well ...

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Ellie » 21 Aug 2018, 08:21

Kolohe wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 04:49
Shem wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 01:27
And I still argue well-executed German-style codetermination would be in the best interests of workers and companies.
You know who else were well-executed Germans?
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's

Post by Shem » 21 Aug 2018, 09:50

JasonL wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 07:38
It occurs to me VW has this structure and ... well ...
Along with every other German corporation.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JasonL » 21 Aug 2018, 11:19

Is there any particular evidence those companies are better behaved?

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's

Post by dead_elvis » 21 Aug 2018, 12:50

JasonL wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 07:26
Shem wrote:
lunchstealer wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 02:45
thoreau wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 02:35
The things that European countries do well could never work here, Shem. When someone praises it as socialist we say that it is actually capitalist, and when somebody asks if we could try their style of capitalism we say that it is actually socialist.
This is an effort to literally give the workers 40% control over the means of production, so ...
What's the difference between a union that represents the interests of workers and board representation that does the same thing?
A big difference, which is why you want it to happen.
Something I find interesting is that for a while (at least in my union) "interest based bargaining" was the big New Thing, and then after a while they did the studies and found that workers got better deals through traditional adversarial bargaining. There was also a trend towards getting board seats, and then they realized how uncomfortable it is to have workers in the roles of bosses, so that ended up being officially discouraged after a brief flirtation. So all this makes me wonder, why does Elizabeth Warren hate unions?
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JasonL » 21 Aug 2018, 13:21

I’m profoundly cynical about a mandate like this and what motivates it. Broadly I think it’s mostly about getting consensus buy in to a form of capitalism that explicitly consists of the largest firms providing regulated levels of employment in exchange for political favors and protection. The world was better when to control the US economy all you had to do was sit down with the Big Three and get them agree to stuff that makes you look good. You have the power if you can force them to the table. Competition in this view is fundamentally bad. Churn is bad. Control control.

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's

Post by Jennifer » 21 Aug 2018, 14:32

JasonL wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 13:21
I’m profoundly cynical about a mandate like this and what motivates it. Broadly I think it’s mostly about getting consensus buy in to a form of capitalism that explicitly consists of the largest firms providing regulated levels of employment in exchange for political favors and protection.
As opposed to being motivated by "You know, this business wherein corporate entities can get away with crimes that would bring horrendously harsh penalties down on ordinary people who do the same thing is some bullshit that needs to be fixed?"
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's

Post by Aresen » 21 Aug 2018, 14:51

Jennifer wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 14:32
JasonL wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 13:21
I’m profoundly cynical about a mandate like this and what motivates it. Broadly I think it’s mostly about getting consensus buy in to a form of capitalism that explicitly consists of the largest firms providing regulated levels of employment in exchange for political favors and protection.
As opposed to being motivated by "You know, this business wherein corporate entities can get away with crimes that would bring horrendously harsh penalties down on ordinary people who do the same thing is some bullshit that needs to be fixed?"
And this (or any similar initiative from Elizabeth Warren) is going to fix it?

First, we know this is going to be nothing more than another weapon to bludgeon corporations into doing what the government wants.

Second, I think it is hopelessly naive to think that this will reform corporate misbehavior in the slightest. Strings will still be pulled and the powers that be will still wink.

Third, once the lobbyists get done with it, it will be a tool to protect established companies from upstart competition.

This has been the pattern of every 'reform' since Upton Sinclair and Teddy Roosevelt, who you mentioned above. What makes you think that Elizabeth Warren or anyone else will change it?
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's

Post by JasonL » 21 Aug 2018, 14:53

Jennifer wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 14:32
JasonL wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 13:21
I’m profoundly cynical about a mandate like this and what motivates it. Broadly I think it’s mostly about getting consensus buy in to a form of capitalism that explicitly consists of the largest firms providing regulated levels of employment in exchange for political favors and protection.
As opposed to being motivated by "You know, this business wherein corporate entities can get away with crimes that would bring horrendously harsh penalties down on ordinary people who do the same thing is some bullshit that needs to be fixed?"
Yes though I think your word choice is poor. "Can get away with" is not much of a bar to clear. VW operates within this model and with explicit backing of their government survived one of the largest industrial frauds ever perpetuated. So they "can get away with it" too. If you think this model of existence at government whim gets you more accountability I think you are mistaken. What it gets you is explicit government meddling in everything all the time and to the extent you are doing something politically unfavorable to a current administration, the ability to haul you in even if you didn't violate any known reg. Labor decisions of major firms become explicit political footballs. That's everyday life. So, yeah, even if you believe you get some minor improvement in accountability among the worst actors, you are trading the politicization of nearly all aspects of these businesses because the government is a "stakeholder" gag.

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Eric the .5b
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Eric the .5b » 21 Aug 2018, 15:04

Wellllll, fascists did get unions and management on the same side. :)
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's

Post by Jennifer » 21 Aug 2018, 15:34

JasonL wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 14:53
Jennifer wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 14:32
JasonL wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 13:21
I’m profoundly cynical about a mandate like this and what motivates it. Broadly I think it’s mostly about getting consensus buy in to a form of capitalism that explicitly consists of the largest firms providing regulated levels of employment in exchange for political favors and protection.
As opposed to being motivated by "You know, this business wherein corporate entities can get away with crimes that would bring horrendously harsh penalties down on ordinary people who do the same thing is some bullshit that needs to be fixed?"
Yes though I think your word choice is poor. "Can get away with" is not much of a bar to clear.
What about "routinely gets away with?" As I said upthread...

TRIGGER WARNING: Mention of sex crime unrelated to corporate malfeasance

... when that DuPont asshole was given house arrest for raping a toddler, this was shocking precisely because it was so much lower a penalty than any reasonable observer would expect. The GM/Wells Fargo/Exxon/BP examples mentioned here weren't like that: their receiving absurdly low penalties (compared to what a regular person who committed the same crime would expect to face) was par for the course.

By contrast, if that DuPont sentence were standard -- if it was common knowledge among any reasonable observer of American jurisprudence that "Yeah, rich guys who rape toddlers never go to prison for it; that's just not how our system works" -- then I'd expect the likes of E Warren or someone else to eventually introduce a "Rich Rapist Accountability Act," WITHOUT leaping to the default assumption "Look, the system we have now is fine, and if this bill obviously is intended as nothing more than a way for the government to go after any rich person it hates, regardless of whether said rich person actually did anything wrong."
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Aresen » 21 Aug 2018, 15:40

Image
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Jennifer » 21 Aug 2018, 16:07

If you remain puzzled by what point I'm trying to make, Aresen, PM me with your questions and I'll answer them to the best of my ability; I figure that would be preferable to thread derailment, no? First, though, I'll spell out my point one last time in case it helps: I definitely make a distinction between a criminal justice system wherein "Most actors who commit these serious crimes face serious penalties, though the occasional rich-n-connected asshole slips through the cracks" versus "Almost nobody who commits these serious crimes faces serious penalties." Where corporate crimes are concerned, the latter appears to be the case.
Last edited by Jennifer on 21 Aug 2018, 16:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JasonL » 21 Aug 2018, 16:28

What is a serious penalty you want to see. Penalties are issued by regulators every day of the year. If you are saying BP wasn’t penalized what do you need to see.

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's

Post by Jennifer » 21 Aug 2018, 16:34

JasonL wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 16:28
What is a serious penalty you want to see. Penalties are issued by regulators every day of the year. If you are saying BP wasn’t penalized what do you need to see.
In BP's case, at minimum I'd like to see them make full restitution plus punitive damages to all the Gulf people whose livelihoods and occupations they destroyed. And certain actors involved did deserve to go to prison, IMO. (IIRC, one of the "experts" BP listed in its disaster response plan had died several years before said response plan was actually submitted. That goes beyond a mere "mistake.")

Also: I didn't say they weren't penalized; I said they weren't penalized nearly as much as an ordinary person who committed the same crime. GM's penalty for killing over 120 people and letting at least one innocent victim take the fall for them was ... they had to forfeit six-tenths of one percent of their net worth.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JasonL » 21 Aug 2018, 16:59

There were something like 11 BP heads charged for manslaughter and they were cleared in court. So, that part is still going to be subject to the vagaries of the judicial system. The settlement with the court was intended to be that kind of restitution - again it was charged under laws, civil penalties and class actions included and amounts were paid. I can't confirm Shems amount but I remember the news in Q1 of this year where the total impact on financial statements had reached $60 billion. That's an entire GDP's worth of payments for a lot of countries.

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Aresen » 21 Aug 2018, 17:27

Jennifer wrote:
21 Aug 2018, 16:07
If you remain puzzled by what point I'm trying to make, Aresen, PM me with your questions and I'll answer them to the best of my ability; I figure that would be preferable to thread derailment, no? First, though, I'll spell out my point one last time in case it helps: I definitely make a distinction between a criminal justice system wherein "Most actors who commit these serious crimes face serious penalties, though the occasional rich-n-connected asshole slips through the cracks" versus "Almost nobody who commits these serious crimes faces serious penalties." Where corporate crimes are concerned, the latter appears to be the case.
Here is what you wrote above:
.. when that DuPont asshole was given house arrest for raping a toddler, this was shocking precisely because it was so much lower a penalty than any reasonable observer would expect. The GM/Wells Fargo/Exxon/BP examples mentioned here weren't like that: their receiving absurdly low penalties (compared to what a regular person who committed the same crime would expect to face) was par for the course.

By contrast, if that DuPont sentence were standard -- if it was common knowledge among any reasonable observer of American jurisprudence that "Yeah, rich guys who rape toddlers never go to prison for it; that's just not how our system works" -- then I'd expect the likes of E Warren or someone else to eventually introduce a "Rich Rapist Accountability Act," WITHOUT leaping to the default assumption "Look, the system we have now is fine, and if this bill obviously is intended as nothing more than a way for the government to go after any rich person it hates, regardless of whether said rich person actually did anything wrong."
Since it is abundantly clear that rich people do get off better in the criminal justice system, your comment completely baffled me. My default assumption of a "Rich Rapist Accountability Act" would be precisely that "this bill obviously is intended as nothing more than a way for the government to go after any rich person it hates, regardless of whether said rich person actually did anything wrong", if the purpose was to go beyond the reach of the judiciary.
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Jadagul » 22 Aug 2018, 04:33

I think we might want to step back and differentiate white collar crime by corporations and by individuals. (I know I said something about this earlier, but I have some more developed thoughts about it).

The issue with white-collar crime by individuals is almost certainly that not many of them are prosecuted. Like, the laws on the books are fine; they just aren't super vigorously enforced. We're seeing this really clearly with how now that people are looking, basically every single person Trump has ever worked with has committed multiple financial felonies. While I'm sure Trump is above-average corrupt, I doubt he's absolutely unique.

But ramping up penalties probably won't help there. Individuals tend to be way more worried about the chance of being caught than about the magnitude of the consequences; if most people who committed white-collar felonies had to give the money back and spend two weeks in jail, they'd evaporate.

But crimes by corporations are different, for two reasons. One is that in many cases it doesn't make any sense to charge an individual. And corporations can be much more long-term thinkers than individuals can, and can average results. If no human is going to jail and all that's happening is fines, the corporations can look at the numbers and say "it's worth running this risk of that fine to break this regulation."

And on some level, maybe that's right. If breaking the regulation makes a billion dollars of profit and generates a million dollars of social costs, maybe they should be breaking those regs. But in this case we really do want the penalty to equal "social costs" divided by "chances of getting caught". Basically, they should be pretty Pigouvian. And if we want to get the incidence down to nearly-zero, we need to make the penalties much, much higher than the benefits---and in fact higher than benefits / chance of getting caught.

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by JasonL » 22 Aug 2018, 09:21

I have no objections to seeking higher rates of enforcement on white collar crimes that are currently crimes. I don't know that I follow what you want to happen wrt corporate crimes since it sounds like you don't think fines are effective but also acknowledge it doesn't always make sense to put specific people in jail for these.

Regarding incidence down to nearly zero - you'd probably acknowledge the costs- social and otherwise - of doing that in any other crime would get you on the other side of diminished returns well before you got there.

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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Pham Nuwen » 22 Aug 2018, 09:30

Seriously. We are needing a rape Godwin. Where is stevo when we need him?
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Pham Nuwen » 22 Aug 2018, 09:33

Let me choose a topic and tie it to rape in some way, shape, or form. Can't argue with a rape tie in. You arguing against rape? Why do you like to rape so much? /jen
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Andrew » 22 Aug 2018, 10:03

Pham Nuwen wrote:
22 Aug 2018, 09:33
Let me choose a topic and tie it to rape in some way, shape, or form. Can't argue with a rape tie in. You arguing against rape? Why do you like to rape so much? /jen
"Rape, murder, arson, and rape."

"You said rape twice."

"I like rape."
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Re: Elizabeth Warren's "Accountable Capitalism Act"

Post by Warren » 22 Aug 2018, 10:18

Andrew wrote:
22 Aug 2018, 10:03
Pham Nuwen wrote:
22 Aug 2018, 09:33
Let me choose a topic and tie it to rape in some way, shape, or form. Can't argue with a rape tie in. You arguing against rape? Why do you like to rape so much? /jen
"Rape, murder, arson, and rape."

"You said rape twice."

"I like rape."
He'll do.
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