Sunday, December 14, 2008
An Extreme Solution to Fraud
Execution! Sarbanes-Oxley is nice, but what we need is something that really gives financial hucksters a reason to behave. China recently executed a businessman convicted of bilking thousands of investors out of $416MM in a bogus ant-breeding(?) scheme, state media reported Thursday. Back in 2007, they executed a former official at the Agricultural Bank of China. I have no qualms with the death penalty in principle, because though the state can and will continue to make mistakes, it would be inconsistent to allow the state to kill people in normal police actions in the process of apprehension, but not after catching them. After all, if the 'potential for a mistake' or 'the state can't morally do that' is the criterion, why let our police carry any guns? Why have a military? I'm not saying it should be used a lot, but given 300MM people, there are probably well over 500 people who deserve death in any one year.
So, perhaps crimes over $100MM in fraud can qualify for the death penalty? Surely they ruin many retirements, and most economists value a life between $4 to $9 million, so I think $100MM is beyond the pale.