Criminal CEOs



  • Well, to start an own thread for this….

    First a nice example, before i come up with my opinion.

    A little story from a customs officer working at the Hamburg port:
    You might know that there are two kinds of tuna (the fish). The rare one has two little fins at the front, the common one does not.
    In germany, the rare one is slightly less taxed (0.2% difference) on import. Of course, all those people sellign tuna in cans said: “Oh, we only use the rare one”, avoiding these “extra” 0.2%. The customs officials knew they had to lie, cause the rare one would have been extinct by the imported amounts, but couldn’t prove that lie.
    So, this tax avoidance prescribes (sp?) after ten years, and of course the customs has quite a lot of samples of these tunas.
    Then… someone found the one gene that is responsible for “two fins or not two fins”… a way to see what kind of tuna actually is in the cans…

    All these people who “only worked with the rare tuna” had to repay about 1 billion Euros (the Euro sign is not working on this page :(( ).

    (All in all, each year the 3000 customs officers of the hamburg port alone “earn” more than 15 billion Euros… and i don’t think that individual smugglers can make that amount, plus: for illegal wares (drugs, weapons, protected species) there is no “revenue”).

    So, criminals in economy do much more damage to the society than most single persons: They damage the economy as a whole, therefore risk other peoples job, force the state to get its money elswhere (usually from its citizens) etc.

    The risk for them, on the other hand, is relatively small (at least over here). Before they personally are held liable, usually the corporation they work for pays.
    I would love to see “crimes against the society” being marked as or close to capital crimes.



  • I’d actually consider this evidence that these crimes are not nearly up to the “capital crimes” level. I mean really - “two-fin tuna” is hardly a hill worth dying on, nor is it an economy wrecker. This is at best a “by the way” sideline, but not evidence that we need harsher penalties against corporations (maybe customs officials . . . but i never liked them anyway . . . ).



  • Well, if tax avoidance of 10^9 Bucks can be taken lightly…. why don’t you legalize fare evasion in public transportation then? (I guess that nationwide the busses, trams, metros etc. have smaller budgets).
    Why go for all the small criminals, when you don’t consider corporate criminals as such a “Big thing”?
    I mean … tuna… noone would think it is big, right? And still, it’s worth about 100 million Euros a year.

    If you have a look at the german statistics:
    1.7% of all crimes are white collar crimes.
    62.6% of the damage done by crimes are done by white collar crimes.
    Last years damage that could be proven (therefore probably much less than the actual damage done) was about 63,000,000,000 Euros.

    That’s about 1.5 times the whole interest the FRG has to pay each year.

    (btw, that was my 1000th posting as it seems)

    I consider white collar crimes as serious as capital crimes.



  • The big issue about this tax avoidance should not be how much money it has kept out of the governments budget, But what is it doing to the local industry? I think the issue with the tuna has been over simplified. If importers are forced to pay that additional tax two things can happen.
    1. Importers decrease the amount of tuna shipped thus lowering the amount of taxes collected. Which that amount could be less then what was being missed before. Meaning, instead of not paying the 100 million they should, the tax collections decrease by 150 million.
    2. The local industry raises it prices to meet those of the importers thus raising their profits.Which isn’t to bad but the consumer can end up paying more.
    Also creating another department to verify what type of tuna is being imported can greatly off set the gain from the taxes.
    Ultimatly the taxes are paid by the consumer not the CEO’s.

    I do have some question. Does Germany have a large Tuna industry? Why is the tax different on “rare” tuna?



  • @Tinker:

    I think the issue with the tuna has been over simplified.

    Sure, all examples oversimplify

    1. Importers decrease the amount of tuna shipped thus lowering the amount of taxes collected. Which that amount could be less then what was being missed before. Meaning, instead of not paying the 100 million they should, the tax collections decrease by 150 million.

    Sure, but there is a market for Tuna. As long as there is a good profit, people will import it and sell it.

    2. The local industry raises it prices to meet those of the importers thus raising their profits.Which isn’t to bad but the consumer can end up paying more. …Ultimatly the taxes are paid by the consumer not the CEO’s.

    I believe that would happen. But then: it is 0.2%, i don’t think that would be anything noticable for the individual.
    But: it adds up, when you take it from all. So it adds up for the one who can canalize it (like the importers).
    (Why has the guy been severely punished, who just took the sub-cent parts of interests the customers of his bank would have earned, and transfered them to his own account. This money of course would belong to the bank (for whatever dubious reasons it’s not the customers), and he got quite rich in quite a short time. But, they caught him and sent him to jail. AFAIK none of the "tuna-CEO"s was sent to jail… why the difference between criminal idividuals and criminal individuals ?)

    I do have some question. Does Germany have a large Tuna industry? Why is the tax different on “rare” tuna?

    The tuna industry is not that big, i suppose. I must say i haven’T thought too much about it. Every now and then i have some on my pizza, but that is about it. Why the taxes are differently, i don’t know, probably one of the german bureaucratic left-overs from times when it looked important…



  • :lol:



  • @Wild2000:

    It seems to me that the real problem is the two are taxed at different rates. Easy solution is to either make them taxed at the same rate or make the rare tuna tax higher (which would seem more logical anyway).

    I don’t know about the reasons for that, and i didn’t want to make them point of the discussion. You will always find situations like that, not the same, but similar… and as you said yourself:

    Like anything else, if you give business a chance to avoid costs, it will. Society has a double standard - we want the lowest prices as possible (and complain when they go up), but frown upon business when they take advantage of a cost savings that is the fault of the government.

    For a business, it is all about risk. If the benefits outweigh the risks, many businesses will choose that path - even if it means doing something illegal. Just take a look at environmental contamination issues caused by business.

    I agree with you here in points. The one point i disagree is the “lowest price at all costs”. I agree there are certain double standards, but:
    You can decide on your own wether you want to be part of the “we” that wants “the lowest prices as possible”. I don’t. I want the lowest sustainable price. That is a major difference. I don’t complain when prices go up with a reason. This is in accordance with my position that everyone has to take his responsibilities, and not only whine for his freedoms. (this also looks like one of the fundamental differences between the US and the “old europe”: In Europe the loss in one ususally goes hand in hand with a loss in the other: less freedom, less individual responsibility. This seems to be different in the US, where it’s the responibility of the coffeeshop to warn you that hot liquids can bruise you, of the microwave-oven-industry that microwaves are not usable to dry pets etc: A loss of personal responsibility)

    For your risk and business assessment: Absolutely true, that’s why i say the risk for these businesses has to be made much larger.
    I would be interested what some of the hardcore capitalists say to that: more risk, or less benefit…



  • So i’m reading this that people who save paying 2 cents a tuna tin by claiming that thier tuna does not have extra fins deserve the same punishment as those who rape and kill, am i correct? Like the guy who rapes your mother, then kills her, burns your house down, this is a person who is barely as much a problem as the man who does not pay the extra money for a (n apparently ridiculous) tax on tuna, either:

    1. passing on the savings to the customer in order to remain competitive
    2. using this to expand as a company, or
    3. passing the savings as profits to shareholders, stockholders, and mutual fund portfolio owners.
      I have to tell you, i’ve always believed me to be a capitalist with somewhat of a sociallist conscience. Apparently i’m way out to left field relative to German standards of wrong doing. Would we then not put people who commit B&E’s into that category? I mean the cause people to live in fear, they drop property values in entire cities, and they steal property. Surely this is a capital crime as well. I bet that there are a whole bunch of crimes out there that might qualify as “capital crimes” given just about any criteria, so what makes the ones you’ve selected so appropriate? I’m sure that ultimately one could consider that people of certain racial backgrounds are guilty of capital crimes for their ability to sew dissent, steal jobs and undermine the economy of a country. (yes, i probably went to far with this one, but i believe you did the same with your CEO’s with hubris = evil criminals).
      As for these CEO’s - the punishment should fit the crime. The degree to which they profited should determine the degree to which they are punished. I.e. if a man makes 2 B Euros committing a crime, not only should the full amount be repayed, but he should also pay an extra 2 B euros, even if this requires some kind of indentured service until this is paid in full. If his hubris can be directly determined to cause 10 jobs, then his life work should be finding jobs for these 10 people or paying for them to find work at their previous salary until they do, etc. I believe this would show an appropriate amount of societal repudiation for these crimes, without equating them with truly evil people - Nazi’s, murderers, lawyers, and smokers.


  • @cystic:

    So i’m reading this that people who save paying 2 cents a tuna tin by claiming that thier tuna does not have extra fins deserve the same punishment as those who rape and kill, am i correct?

    Not the same, a similar.
    They should be punished harsher than robbers, burglars etc. These only steal from one person, while the others steal from the public (by avoiding taxes etc forcing the state to collect the taxes where they can not “run away”, the “ordinary citizen”). They undermine the morale (“hey, they can avoid taxes and arenot punished, so then i take the same right for me”). So, they should not be treated like murderers but like enemies of the states, traitors and the like.

    1. passing on the savings to the customer in order to remain competitive
    2. using this to expand as a company, or
    3. passing the savings as profits to shareholders, stockholders, and mutual fund portfolio owners.

    @(1): If all other payed the tax, noone would get a competition benefit. But with only some paying it, the criminals only get the benefit.
    @(2): Could do that, that would be good for “economy as a whole”, but if you take competition at the heart of that, then the not-cheating ones are the ones suffereing, who can not expand. Again an edge for the criminals i am not willing to give.
    @(3): You forgot to mention the rise in the CEOs salary :)…… which, as i cited somewhere else, went up higher than the salaries of the workers. So, the criminally earned benefit would be used not to close the income-gap, but to enlarge it. Poor, working people probably would not profit that much of it. Always a good way to increase social unrests and then suppress it “in the name of peace, law and justice” without adding “of the rich” 🙂 … i know, oversimplified and too short, but please tell me what kind of system is better: with a small income-gap and social peace, or a large income gap and whatever measures it takes to keep the ones at the low end quiet?

    I have to tell you, i’ve always believed me to be a capitalist with somewhat of a sociallist conscience. Apparently i’m way out to left field relative to German standards of wrong doing.

    Even for german standards i am left-wing…. but you are close to a commie on US standards, which surely am 🙂

    Would we then not put people who commit B&E’s into that category? I mean the cause people to live in fear, they drop property values in entire cities, and they steal property. Surely this is a capital crime as well.

    If i knew what B&E is…
    but see above: the difference is between direct crimes against the society/community/state or indirect crimes.
    Robbers intent to steal stuff from a single person/victim, tax evaders intent to steal from the public/all of us as victims.
    The intention is important, otherwise all accidental killings could be accused as murder.

    I bet that there are a whole bunch of crimes out there that might qualify as “capital crimes” given just about any criteria, so what makes the ones you’ve selected so appropriate?

    Is “enemy of the state”-ship a capital crime? Maybe i just picked the wrong word… i should look up my dictionary at www.leo.org more often…

    As for these CEO’s - the punishment should fit the crime. The degree to which they profited should determine the degree to which they are punished. I.e. if a man makes 2 B Euros committing a crime, not only should the full amount be repayed, but he should also pay an extra 2 B euros, even if this requires some kind of indentured service until this is paid in full.

    Well, if he paid the extra money ouf of his own box, then i could agree. But at the moment, in germany, the CEOs are not personally liable. That is a problem, because the risk for yourself is close to zero.

    If his hubris can be directly determined to cause 10 jobs, …

    grins with this many of your upper comments lose a lot of weight and gain only rethorical value 🙂

    then his life work should be finding jobs for these 10 people or paying for them to find work at their previous salary until they do, etc. I believe this would show an appropriate amount of societal repudiation for these crimes,

    True, and something i could agree with. Unfortunately, if there is a criminal CEO and a non-criminal one…. then the non-criminal one will more probably lose his company/is forced to fire people to save money etc to make up that unfair adavantage in competition. Is that directly enough? If the criminal CEO avoided taxes, will he have to pay it with the interest the state had to pay because of that lost money?

    without equating them with truly evil people - Nazi’s, murderers, lawyers, and smokers.

    :)……
    Q:what is 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?
    A: a good beginning



  • Is “enemy of the state”-ship a capital crime? Maybe i just picked the wrong word… i should look up my dictionary at www.leo.org more often…

    :lol: I use the same exact dictionary too! :lol: I must say, it is by far the best I’ve come across so far…

    This my version:

    http://dict.leo.org/?search=Why&searchLoc=-1&relink=on&spellToler=standard§Hdr=off&tableBorder=1&cmpType=relaxed&lang=en



  • Nice one, for such a “simple word”…
    i encounter the same often enough, when i look for translations…
    but often, that are slightly more complex compared to “why”.



  • Often, I need only simply words anyways… ja?



  • So another way of putting some of the above is …

    The Big Bad CEO would nary ha’ become same if not for the opportunity to get away with it when he was still the Little Guy (experience.) Da(Yes)!



  • @Xi:

    So another way of putting some of the above is …

    The Big Bad CEO would nary ha’ become same if not for the opportunity to get away with it when he was still the Little Guy (experience.) Da(Yes)!

    Hmmmmpf…
    If i understood what that said, i could answer properly.
    Xi, would you mind to stick a bit more to “textbook english”, just for the non-native speakers out here? That’d be nice.



  • F_k,
    I’ll use the textbook I learned on and butcher :oops: for fun (SORRY, I’ll try to do better!)
    I could use the ones they currently use in public schools here in the US as I have copies of a few. I’ve substitute taught sporadically over the last few years and bought old texts. I think the students who got lousy grades in school are the ones who proofread these texts. :roll:



  • @Xi:

    I could use the ones they currently use in public schools here in the US as I have copies of a few. I’ve substitute taught sporadically over the last few years and bought old texts. I think the students who got lousy grades in school are the ones who proofread these texts. :roll:

    lol
    No worries, as long as you correct or explain where misunderstood or didn’t understand at all…. and that in the better english 🙂 … everything’s fine for me.



  • Oh! Yeah!
    Take all the fun out of it! 😢

    Acmfdiorplamriuidkxiwkktoxzjnsaiamsmexoobkiwunnako-dpuqcedgzihfuut!

    :evil:



  • Suddenly, I think we’re not talking about criminal CEO’s anymore.
    Anyways even though these Tuna thieves rob more, at least when they rob, they dilute their theft. However, a regular thieve can completely ruin the lives of a few.



  • @TG:

    However, a regular thieve can completely ruin the lives of a few.

    Yes and no.
    Yes, the regular thief only hits one. But, the one who is robbed likely is insured, so it is then diluted onto all the customers of that one insurance.
    But is it better to steal from everyone a bit and not all from one? Plus: a “regular” thief can hardly take stuff worth several hundred millions with him, and if he can, then the one who he stole from isprobably not ruined, or a fool not having that much insured.
    But if you steal from the society, then maybe you don’t ruin anyone explicitly or at least nobody could ever prove it was your fault that someone else was ruined, but at least you push several people closer to ruin.



  • Call me simplistic, but i´d still rather be “robbed” by a tuna tax two-timer than a break and enter-type guy (like the one who picked off my condo 2 years ago :evil: )



  • Yes, the regular thief only hits one. But, the one who is robbed likely is insured, so it is then diluted onto all the customers of that one insurance.

    Not always. And most of the time, not of the same amount. Also, the amount of paperwork involved even if something is insured is backbreaking.

    But is it better to steal from everyone a bit and not all from one? Plus: a “regular” thief can hardly take stuff worth several hundred millions with him, and if he can, then the one who he stole from isprobably not ruined, or a fool not having that much insured.

    Is it better to take a little from everyone or all from one? What is worse to rob, $100 from 1 person or $1 from 100 persons? Your right that a “regular” thief might not make out with several hundred millions, but the devestation is harder felt on a few though maybe not ruined. As for “insured” that is much of a crime also. Insurance is not free.



  • @TG:

    Is it better to take a little from everyone or all from one? What is worse to rob, $100 from 1 person or $1 from 100 persons? Your right that a “regular” thief might not make out with several hundred millions, but the devestation is harder felt on a few though maybe not ruined. As for “insured” that is much of a crime also. Insurance is not free.

    So, you consider the first case being harder than the second, i suppose?
    The problem i was accusing would come closer to one thief, robbing 1000$ from one person goes to jail for x years, while another thief robbing a total of 10^6$ from thousands of persons finds something (his corporation) to pay his fine and lives happily on without jail or anything.
    Tax evasion is often considered a “gentleman’s crime” over here. Is it less a crime just because there is no blood and violence involved? Or is it less a crime because it does so much more damage to the society?



  • The problem i was accusing would come closer to one thief, robbing 1000$ from one person goes to jail for x years, while another thief robbing a total of 10^6$ from thousands of persons finds something (his corporation) to pay his fine and lives happily on without jail or anything.

    Yes… of course I’m sure we’re all against this. However, as the whole robbing tuna company should not pay (at the risk of many layoffs) but those responsible should be given longer jail sentences. And with mega companies like Eron which have ruined many lives, harsher penalties should be at hand.

    Tax evasion is often considered a “gentleman’s crime” over here. Is it less a crime just because there is no blood and violence involved? Or is it less a crime because it does so much more damage to the society?

    See above



  • @F_alk:

    @TG:

    Is it better to take a little from everyone or all from one? What is worse to rob, $100 from 1 person or $1 from 100 persons? Your right that a “regular” thief might not make out with several hundred millions, but the devestation is harder felt on a few though maybe not ruined. As for “insured” that is much of a crime also. Insurance is not free.

    So, you consider the first case being harder than the second, i suppose?
    The problem i was accusing would come closer to one thief, robbing 1000$ from one person goes to jail for x years, while another thief robbing a total of 10^6$ from thousands of persons finds something (his corporation) to pay his fine and lives happily on without jail or anything.
    Tax evasion is often considered a “gentleman’s crime” over here. Is it less a crime just because there is no blood and violence involved? Or is it less a crime because it does so much more damage to the society?

    i think it may have to do with the fact that i feel much less personally invaded when one commits the “gentleman´s crime”. A man´s home is his castle. His taxes are his pain-in-the-ass, but here its “just one more thing”. Plus the gov´t has ways of stealing from us that no corporation can imagine, so we just sigh, bend over, and take it again.



  • @cystic:

    i think it may have to do with the fact that i feel much less personally invaded when one commits the “gentleman´s crime”. A man´s home is his castle. His taxes are his pain-in-the-a**, but here its “just one more thing”. Plus the gov´t has ways of stealing from us that no corporation can imagine, so we just sigh, bend over, and take it again.

    The first thing i can understand. For the second:
    Why is it then that everyone complains about taxes and raises there, but much less about the corps when they do it?
    To stay in your metaphor (and overstretch it): For the gov’t you sigh and bend over, but for the corps you smile happily and bend over….


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