Guest Post: Should Corrupt Bankers Face the Death Penalty?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Azizonomics

Should Corrupt Bankers Face the Death Penalty?

Doing God's Work?

Let’s be clear: financial misdeeds ruin lives. If a Madoff takes your money and uses it to pay off other investors in a ponzi scheme, you won’t be able to get it back. If a Blankfein underling issues you with misleading advice, and then bets against you (creaming himself a nice profit), you won’t be able to get it back. If a Corzine steals your money and uses it to bet on the European sovereign debt market, you might not be able to get it back. You might end up in poverty or worse. You might lose your children’s college money, your retirement money, or capital you needed for your business. You might lose your home.

So shouldn’t we take a tough line against financial misdeeds? Shouldn’t tricking and stealing from investors, tricking and stealing from the public, tricking and stealing from clients carry a heavy disincentive, like death? Would a corrupt banker not think twice about their misdeeds if they knew that apprehension would mean a noose around their neck and a kicked bucket?

Certainly there is a popular impression that big-time criminals with titles, status and MBAs get it easy, while protestors (sometimes protesting the misdeeds of big-time criminals) get shafted by the hyper-vigilant modern security state:

A lot of commentators — like for example, Max Keiser — seem to think so.

And in China financial crimes are treated with a gravity far beyond a cushy minimum security cell, and home visits on the weekends.

Financial criminals in China are often executed.

From Wiki:

China has executed bankers for fraudulent activity:

  • Wang Liming, former accounting officer, China Construction Bank, Henan, with others stole 20 million yuan ($2.4 million in U.S. Currency) from the bank using fraudulent papers, executed.
  • Miao Ping, an accomplice in the same case, executed.
  • Wang Xiang, same bank in an unrelated case, also executed for taking 20 million yuan from the bank.
  • Liang Shihan, Bank of China, Zhuhai, executed for helping cheat his bank out of $10.3 million US.

In a recent case, Wu Ying, a 28-year-old woman, will soon be put to death for taking out multi-million dollar loans from investors she was unable to pay back.

We in the West appear to have a problem; financial crimes ruin lives, but financial criminals either get away with a comparatively small fine (like Goldman did after they misled clients), a cushy prison cell, or sometimes even a taxpayer funded bailout.

Simply, they keep the upside of their behaviour, and pass the downside off to someone else (either a sucker investor, or a junior partner, or the taxpayer).

Hammurabi, the Babylonian King, had a simple principle for dealing with such bullshit:

If a builder builds a house and the house collapses and causes the death of the owner – the builder shall be put to death. If it causes the death of the son of the owner, a son of that builder shall be put to death.

Exact equivalence; you destroy someone’s livelihood, and your livelihood shall be destroyed. Such justice would leave a lot of people, and not just bankers — Dick Cheney, John Yoo, Larry Summers, Tim Geithner — with a lot to fear.

But would it work? Well, China executes bankers — as well as corrupt party leaders, (watch out, Bo Xilai) — and bankers in China keep screwing investors and the nation.

I think the biggest problem with capital punishment is that it is administered by the state (or the mob) and that means that very often it is administered to the wrong people, for corrupt or flawed reasons. Putting the power of life and death in the hands of the state is quite dangerous. More likely than not, the person executed will end up being the innocent junior intern (“take one for the team, buddy!”) while the corrupt CEO enjoys a retirement of golf courses, hookers, viagra, and oxycontin.

A much better goal to aspire to is the end of bailouts, and the end of firing off wads of QE-dollars to preserve badly-run (but well-connected) companies and systems (zombification).

Still, in matters of financial fraud I think it is important to seek out equivalent justice; you destroy a livelihood, we take your trust fund, and your Swiss bank account to compensate the victim. The status quo — where regulators shoot off tiny fines for huge financial crimes — is a joke.

But the best way to punish Goldman Sachs (etc) for their misdeeds is to not bail them out the next time their hyper-fragile leverage-driven business model fails them and they end up over a barrel. It is quick, dirty and emotionally satisfying to talk of executions, but giving the state the power over life and death has far bigger, and far more dangerous consequences, not to mention huge potential for abuse.

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BarberKen19's picture

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5880's picture

This is an IQ test

look at the fail here

Gully Foyle's picture

I don't get the killing someone is better than living the rest of your life in prison suffering daily thing.

If you really want people to pay what the deserve harvest the fucking organs. Keep them alive as long as possible and set sentence reduction by organ. Kidney drops five years, Cornea seven years.

Really where does saying hope you die get you? Nothing, no suffering. But hope you lose a limb, ah sweet justice.


Waffen's picture

you kill them, because its pretty hard for a president to pardon a dead man

Gully Foyle's picture

Obama’s inequality argument just utterly collapsed

So what happened to the rest of the dough? The top 10%, 1% and 0.1% grabbed all the money. Or pretty much most of it. Time to crank up taxes on the rich and spend more on the middle class. It’s not overstating things to say that the findings of Piketty and Saez form the very heart of Obamanomics, giving a powerful economic rationale for Obama policies such as ending the upper-end Bush tax cuts to Obamacare to the Buffett Rule.

But it’s just not true, according to a new study in National Tax Journal from researchers at Cornell University. (Here’s an earlier, working-paper version.) The academics, led by economist Richard Burkhauser, don’t say the findings of Piketty and Saez are wrong — just incredibly, massively incomplete. According to the Cornell study, median household income – properly measured – rose 36.7%, not 3.2% like Piketty and Saez argue. That’s a big miss.

And all income levels got richer. Yes, the very rich did exceptionally well, mostly due to technology and globalization. Incomes rose 63% for the top 5%, 56% for the top 10% and 52.6% for the top 20%.  But everyone else made out pretty well, too. Incomes rose 40.4% for households between the 60th and 80th percentiles, 36.9% for the next quintile, 25.0% for the next, and 26.4% for the bottom 20%. There’s the “shared prosperity” Obama says he wants, right in front of his eyes. (Indeed, the study finds, income inequality has actually been shrinking since 1989, with the Gini index falling to 0.362 from 0.372.)

As the Cornell study concludes:

Income inequality increased in the United States not because the rich got richer, the poor got poorer and the middle class stagnated, but because the rich got richer at a faster rate than the middle and poorer quintiles and this mostly occurred in the 1980s. .. the apparent failure of the median American to benefit from economic growth can largely be explained by the use of an income measure for this purpose which does not fully capture what is actually happening to the resources available to middle class individuals.

See, Piketty and Saez made lots of odd choices about what to measure and how to measure it. They chose to measure something called “tax units” rather than households, a move which ignores the statistical impact —  including economies of scale — of couples who cohabitate, kids who move back in with their parents after college, and senior parents who live with their adult children.

They chose to ignore the value of all government transfers — including welfare, Social Security, and other government provided cash assistance — received by the household.

They chose to ignore the role of taxes and tax credits.

They chose to ignore the value of healthcare benefits. In short, Piketty and Saez ignored a lot of stuff. Again, Burkhauser and his team;

 The apparent failure of the median American to benefit from economic growth can largely be explained by the use of an income measure for this purpose which does not fully capture what is actually happening to the resources available to middle class individuals …  When using the most restrictive income definition – pre-tax, pre-transfer tax unit cash (market) income—the resources available to the middle class have stagnated over the past three business cycles. In contrast, once broadening the income definition to post-tax, post-transfer size-adjusted household cash income, middle class Americans are found to have made substantial gains.

So the tax and regulatory polices of the past three decades did not lead to stagnation for the middle class at the hands of the rapacious rich. Claims to the contrary — such as those made by Obama, the Occupy movement, and many liberal economists — never really passed the sniff test of anyone who lived through the past few decades. And now we know why: The inequality and stagnation alarmists were wrong. And so, therefore, is the economic rationale of the president’s class-warfare economic policies. Not that economics ever had much to do with them anyway.

blunderdog's picture

So if me and my broke-ass GF move in together, our incomes go up?

Neo1's picture

GUYS GUYS, Death is to easy of a way out for the bankers, a better way is to take all their family wealth away from them, and make them penniless, with a big ass tattoo on their forehead, BANKER in red ink, anyone willing to help them looses their wealth also. The movie trading places comes to mind at the end, living in a cardboard box. If they try to kill themselves they will be brought back to life, it will be hell on earth for them.

WVO Biker's picture

Did someone say this site is a time waster?

On the other hand I found a lot of useful things about living offgrid and some really fine trading links. 

mr_T's picture

Ur silly... U can't kill god. GS is our golden cow. They rule the universe. Remember .. can't touch this ..

Mr. Fix's picture


 "Should Corrupt Bankers Face the Death Penalty?"

In a word, yes!

 Now wouldn't it be swell if we actually had a say in this?

Big Corked Boots's picture

the bullet or... the bullet.

CH1's picture


Look, I understand how much destruction these guys created, but the point is to escape them and to do better things.

Go ahead and vent, but in real life, we have to leave them behind and move on.


GetZeeGold's picture that you?


Oh regional Indian's picture

I agree whole-heartedly CH1. Eye for an eye and the cycle just swirls down the drain.

If reality finally bit the 1% in the ass, their life as normal people would be hellish enough.

Plus, Lindsey lohan has made ankle-trackers cool. Whatever that is worth in this dialouge, but it seems to fit.

Perhaps ankle trackers for the perps?


El's picture

These guys are like cancer. You can't just escape it, leave it behind or move on. It doesn't let you. You have to cut it out, nuke it, or otherwise bring about its demise or containment, or it will only continue to spread. Nice thought, but sadly it just doesn't work that way.

Big Corked Boots's picture

You can't leave them behind when they are still riding your back. It's not that we're screwed and we need to get over it, but that we are being continually screwed and in some cases with less lube. The solution is obvious - eliminate the screwer.

pods's picture

I agree.  The state having the power to take life is an abomination.  

Most here are venting though.

The state caused this mess in the first place, you cannot look to them for solutions.  For every solution comes with it more state power.


spiral_eyes's picture

Excellent pods, you get it.

By the way, Hammurabi himself would have dealt with corrupt bankers by taking their wealth to compensate their victims (their PERSONAL wealth, not the assets of a bank holding company) not by killing them.

pods's picture

Years ago I toiled with the use of the death penalty.  When I stepped back and really looked at why I felt it just to take a life for a crime I realized that all my arguments were emotionally based.  A horrendous crime would always stir the fire for bloodlust.  

But, it was the state who carries out this "punishment" and if they can take one life legally, they can take them all.

Not a good fit with personal liberty.


DaveyJones's picture

Well said. Look at the innocence project. Look at corrupt prosecutors who hid exculpatory evidence in violation of every rule for "the win" while watching the innocent suspect be put to death. Still happens today. Taking all of their personal wealth, sending them to life in prison works for me.   

resurger's picture

A: YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LongSoupLine's picture

Should Corrupt Bankers Face the Death Penalty?


Are bears Catholic?  Does the Pope shit in the woods?

Hell ya!

Abitdodgie's picture

The Pope at easter mass said that Jesus was the son of satan and we should all worship him , whats up with that.

Yardfarmer's picture

"lucifer" in the ancient text commonly read at the beginning of the Easter Vigil is literally translated in the old Latin, and to which you are apparently attempting to refer to, as "the morning star" which is the planet Venus. Although worshipped by gnostics and their Illuminati confreres as the "light bearer" and thus Lucifer, the mention of "lucifer" is employed in the Easter vigil mass only as a symbolic allusion to the real "Light of the World" whose birth, death and resurrection brought light into the darkness. The YouTube video which is presently spreading this nonsense is misinformed and ridiculous. aside from that, I tend to agree with Ann Barnhardt when she calls for the prosecution of Jon Corzine for capital(ist) crimes with the requisite capital(ist) punishment. As about as much chance of that happening as Jesus being the son of Satan. sheeesh!

Abitdodgie's picture

Thanks for the info , its just that these old Popes get a bit ,well differant in there old age, thank God I don't have to worship satan, next I would be joining the Masons and the NWO and having sex with children. Nothing to see here move along.

ReeferMac's picture

The Cartoon is very apropos!

I guarantee you, it won't stop every one, but MOST of the crooks on wall street would think twice about what they're doing if just ONE of those slimy bastards was hung from a lamp-post by his neck. Why the laws are different for one segment of society vs. the others could fill a few books, but the end message is the same.

ShankyS's picture

"Should Corrupt Bankers Face the Death Penalty?" 

As we say here in the south - Aw hell yea!


schatzi's picture

Is this a trick question?

VonManstein's picture

life hard labour i think is a better option.

get them picking cotton or something

Kali's picture

Mucking out pig barns or manually cleaning out septic tanks.  Picking cotton is too clean.

pepperspray's picture

I need somebody to plant my peas

dhengineer's picture

And while they are mucking out barns and septic tanks, the uniform of the day will be an Armani suit with Gucci loafers.  A hard day's work (12 hours) earns them food for the next day.  Extra work beyond 12 hours will earn them a space in the loft of the barn or in the storage shed for the night.  Anything less than a full 12 hours of work means no food or shelter for the next 24 hours.

If capital punishment is warranted, I have always thought that an appropriate method would be to stone them with good-delivery gold about poetic justice!

jeff314's picture

they will be in Tel-Aviv as soon as the next crash happend...

Matrix R Us's picture

Looks clear to me!

Arnold Ziffel's picture

But don't that violate their human rights?

mayhem_korner's picture



Is that the face of someone fabricating a story or what?

dhengineer's picture

It looks like he just crapped his panties...

BanjoDoug's picture

face the death penalty, gosh we can't have that - why that would be "anti-semitic".....

insanelysane's picture

The thinking has always been that if someone holds you up in the street with a knife or gun and takes $100 from you that it is much more traumatic than waking up one day and finding out that the $xxx,xxx in your retirement account is gone.  Methinks they are at least the same.

The Axe's picture

rich sister  jon corzine  double header....or no header...

The Axe's picture

rich sister  jon corzine  double header....or no header...

icanhasbailout's picture

they should be declared outlaws - outside the protection of the law - and let the chips fall where they may

battle axe's picture

Bring back burning at the steak, it was good enough for Joan of Arc why not Blankfeld?

Seasmoke's picture

medium-rare or well done ?