Is it “the system” or “the excess”?

In Finance Professor Earns “King’s” Ransom, John Fullerton of the Capital Institute about a professor, acting as an expert witness, paid $1 million dollars in the financial fraud trial of Raj “King”.  It looks to me that he was paid to say the information, that Raj had traded on, was available to the public, so… somehow would not actually “illegal” to use even if the way he got the insider information was illicit.  (wow!)

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To me the question is how to tell the difference between using money to make money as a general good as our culture treats it, and the natural limits at which it upsets and falsifies everything we stand for to continue supporting it. It seems to take us to where power is too powerful to put limitations on, and that’s not good.

The trouble is that “rules” like limiting the size of businesses and personal fortunes wouldn’t necessarily give us the wisdom to limit the number of businesses and personal fortunes, or lots of other things. So I think the right rules to have will come after, not before, it becomes popular to have the wisdom to know one’s limits. Unfortunately, that does not seem to bode well for the earth or our society, as we live in almost a madhouse as it is, and not clearly accumulating wisdom at all.

The things I come back to on this are the very simple principles we seem to have wrong, like the way “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is treated as being a contest to see who can be a more skillful liar and not get caught. Why isn’t the standard in court, and for officers of corporations too, to be truthful in the stronger sense, of simply not being misleading to the best of your abilities.

When it comes to money and the law, doesn’t being as misleading as possible without getting caught pass as our standard of honesty, and partly because it is so very profitable?

If “not misleading” had been the standard, Bill Clinton would not have tried to hide behind a technically truthful statement to convey a deceitful meaning, relying on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. To not be misleading when asked the embarrassing question directly, he’d have had to make his best effort to find a face saving way to tell the truth.

There would have been a moment’s embarrassment, and little else. If our legal standard for being truthful were based on whether what you said mislead people, wouldn’t that make it dangerous to use misleading people as a mainstay of your business, legal practice or politics?

 

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