Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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02 September 2013

Roger Donway Calls for an End to White Collar Crime Persecutions of Businessmen

Roger Donway has long fought heroically for the rights of businessmen to pursue profits and to earn a living.  He has led the effort of the Business Rights Center of the Atlas Society.  Roger has defended Michael Milken, Frank Quattrone, and more recently Greg Reyes against villainous persecutions.  The case of Greg Reyes is told in his acclaimed book Rich-Hunt: The Backdated Options Frenzy and the Ordeal of Greg Reyes.  Now at the last Atlas Shrugged Summer Seminar, he gave a talk entitled White Collar Crime.

Donway traces the origins of the intent to persecute businessmen for their profit seeking and the early use of the term "white collar crime."  He points out that if an act is properly criminal, in objective law it is not criminal simply because it was committed by a businessman.  It is no more right to direct laws and crimes at businessmen than it is to have a special set of laws and crimes for Hispanics, or Asian-Americans, or blue-collar employees.

He points out that the white collar crime crusade grew out of plains-state Christian condemnation of profit and self-interest modified by a high regard for the state that various Progressive scholars picked up from studies abroad in Prussia in the early 20th Century.  He identifies a couple of sociologists, E. A. Ross and Edwin H. Sutherland, as being particularly important in the development of the irrational idea of white collar crime.

The idea was developed that businessmen who may be more honest and law-abiding individually were driven by being in a corporation or business organization to an unusual disregard for the norms of society and its laws and regulations.  Because of this, the state needed to have an especially rigorous set of laws and regulations directed at controlling their behavior.

Of course, this idea has the usual fault that the state has a very high disregard for the norms of society and has a strong predilection for not applying the laws it creates to Congress and those in the employ of the government.  The regulator is much more corruptible and has no constraints placed on it by highly concerned customers.  State regulation simply resorts to force in a relationship and does not use the restraining effect that all parties must at least think they will benefit from a transaction if it is to win their approval.  Most business transactions are scrutinized far more closely than are most political votes for our representatives.  The quality of the regulatory agency leadership is even more questionable.  Then there are the publicity-seeking public prosecutors playing upon uninformed and prejudiced public opinion.

Donway makes many good points in his very important talk.  It will be well worth your time to listen to his presentation.

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