by Ragnar Danneskjold

editor-in-chief –

Reporter, editor –

I have been reading stories in the mainstream media, blaming

capitalism for the current market woes. It’s the greedy

capitalists, they say, that are responsible for the faltering

economy. “The bottom line is the only thing those capitalists

think about, without any consideration for the long-term

economic outlook, employees, or social welfare,” says one

reporter. “Capitalism gives the executives of companies such

as Global Crossing, Enron, and WorldCom incentives to cook the

books,” states another.

True, executives pay attention to the bottom line. That’s

their job. And some of them commit fraud by cooking the

books. But why indict capitalism? That’s like blaming gun

manufacturers for violent crimes. Oh, but wait. That’s the

whole point. We like to blame everything or anything other

than the individual. The first thing the mainstream media

does is blame everything else, and the individual is a side-

story, an unimportant tangent.

The devil made them do it or, rather, the capitalist system.

Why blame the executives when they are just pawns of

capitalism, doing what capitalism tells them to do? Why put

all the blame on the murderer for the murder, when there are

larger social issues involved? Why blame anyone for anything?

When we play such blame games, we diffuse the issues. We make

the subject irreconcilable. If there is no one person to

blame, but many, or even a whole system, or society as a

whole, why blame anyone? Our attention is diverted. The

issue is diffused to the point of irrelevancy.

Rational people should understand that responsibility must

rest on the person pressing the trigger, or the accountant

signing a financial statement knowing it is false, or the

executive who looks the other way. Fraud is fraud under

capitalism, socialism, communism, fascism, or any other

economic or political system. The real issue, therefore, is

fraud, committed by unscrupulous executives. And they must be

punished. It’s as simple as that. There is no need to look

anywhere else to complicate matters. Sure, the reporters and

columnists like complication. Who wants to write a boring

story centering on another instance of fraud. Let’s spice it

up, make it look like there’s a problem with the entire system

or society as a whole. Nationalize or globalize it. That’s

the ticket. Confuse everyone and muddle the issues.

In reality, however, all we have are a bunch of people who

thought they could get away with cheating. They are no

different than credit card fraudsters or pick-pockets.

Sometimes the simple answer is the correct answer, even if it

does not sell as many newspapers or magazines.

Capitalism is a system that allows people to pursue life,

liberty, and property. Blaming this system for the acts of

duplicitous executives is an insult to all business people

everywhere. I am a capitalist, but I do not cheat people. Do