Monday, November 11, 2013
Upper class crime dwarfs underclass crime
In the last two posts, I hope I've shown that the incompetence and greed of the financial sector has recently cost more in money than all the crime in the UK put together, and thousands of innocent lives to boot. I don't suppose that the deaths were intentional, but there is such a thing as criminal negligence, and if bankers and traders don't understand what they're doing they shouldn't be doing it, any more than useless paediatric surgeons.
Why are there not mass trials for corporate manslaughter, and utterly crushing fines and compensation claims against the "too-big-to-fail" banks and their senior employees and directors? And why are they too big to fail? I don't see why we couldn't set up entirely new banks to do what the old ones did well, and not do the things they shouldn't have done. It's only the hope of future employment with these moral idiots that seems to stay the hand of the politicians.
So we now turn to the politicians, who directly or indirectly have given instruction and encouragement to the banks to simulate prosperity by inflating the money supply for decades. Let's compare murder rates, shall we?
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime counted 5,096 intentional homicides in the United Kingdom for the years 2004-2009. But as Peter Hitchens has often pointed out, the murder rate would have been much higher had it not been for great improvements in emergency medical treatment since the 1960s (when the death penalty was abolished), so let's boost this figure, say, tenfold, to 50,960.
Compare that with the toll of the Iraq invasion. Wikipedia gives a range of estimates, the lowest of which is 109,032 for the same period, i.e. 2004 - 2009 (the highest is over a million). Two-thirds of them are civilian, by the way.
Who bears the responsibility?
It's tempting to spread the blame - in Britain, the Cabinet and media boxwallahs like Alastair Campbell could be tarred with the same brush - but perhaps it helps narrow down the liability when you consider what might have happened had Prime Minister Blair told President Bush that the UK was not going to support military intervention. (Instead, as Peter McKay tells us today, "25 notes from then-president George W. Bush to Blair — and some 200 Cabinet- level discussions — have been withheld by No 10", so we are forced to draw our own inferences).
It's quite possible that absent Blair's buddyship, Bush might have stayed his hand. After all, look what happened when President Obama's finger had taken the trigger on Syria to first pressure but Prime Minister Cameron "got it" when his consultation of Parliament resulted in a "no". Gosh, how quickly the world's attention turned to other things, such as Miley Cyrus' arse.
So let's argue that Blair and Bush are jointly guilty of the low-estimate six-figure deaths. That makes 54,516 corpses each (assuming you don't accept that these politicians are jointly and severally guilty, which would double their butcher's bill).
Not intentional homicide? Whoever heard of a bloodless invasion of a major, modern-equipped Middle Eastern country? If B&B had been in the UK in the 1950s and killed a householder while burgling, they'd have swung. It's why criminals used to be very hard on any of their number who brought a shooter on a blag.
And that's just overt action. I suppose we'll never find out the whole truth about the covert operations that caused Arab nations, latterly Syria, to erupt in multivarious civil wars.
Blair - whose full name anagrammatizes satisfyingly as "born actor; lethally nannyish" - is a posh boy who went to a very posh school, where he learned how to escape the consequences of his actions by enlisting guardians. Bush is a millionaire former oilman and the son of a former US President. Leaving office and an economy heading for ruin, he handed what in rugby is known a "hospital pass" to the new guy (so which of them is the dumb one?)
So when reading or re-reading "Freakonomics", ponder who does more harm, the children of the poor or the scions of the Establishment.
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