DID WALL STREET "GO ROGUE" OR WAS IT ROGUE ALREADY?
As Billions Vanish, Our Focus Should Be On Economic Crimes
By Danny Schechter
Author, PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity
Remember "going rogue," how an old word became new again driving media coverage for more than a week during the campaign only to disappear from TV News? Google has 376,000 references for the term "going rogue" thanks to our echo chamber of a media system.
One after another, media outlets repeatedly embraced this "R" word - at a time that other "R" word, "Recession," was not yet in vogue. Language experts jokingly debated the meaning of "going rogue." Writing on the Language Log Blog Mark Liberman noted:
"... "go rogue" is not a new coinage. A search on Google Books suggest that it's especially popular in science fiction and fantasy, most often applied to robots, cyborgs, or other intelligent machines such as spaceships... It's interesting - but not surprising - that (some) political operatives think of their candidates in the way that others think of robots, animals, elves, and death-squad members: useful but dangerous creatures whose initiative needs to be carefully restrained by programming, training, or magical spells."
Those of us who are ready to retire the "rogue" word might hold up. Loretta Napoleoni, who worked in finance for many years, has a book out that depersonalizes the idea and applies it to an industry and our economic system. Her 'Rogue Economics,' (Seven Stories Press) shows how, in this age of globalization, most businesses have wriggled free of what regulations there were and often operate in a shadow system where the line between illegality and legality blurs and devious practices evade accountability and transparency.
She argues that the global subprime crisis, the swift rise of the super-rich and illegal businesses are all are part of this phenomenon. In her view, the dominant market system had already gone rogue.
New examples of the Rogueism writ larger are popping up almost every day in the press even as juicy political scandals still get more ink and airtime than major rip-offs on Wall Street. Maybe we need a new video game called, 'Grand Theft Financial.'
The latest cases are staggering in their audacity in a corporate culture where an illegal act becomes a crime only when you get caught. Take Bernie Madoff, known as a pillor of the finance world, a senior luminary in the pantheon of the Wall Street elite, and a "magician." After he made $50 billion disappear, harming some of his wealthier customers, he was arrested and confessed.
Had he "gone rogue" or was he just part of an avaricious rogue system?
The NY Times tells us: "Regulators have not yet verified the scale of the fraud. But the criminal complaint filed against Mr. Madoff on Thursday in federal court in Manhattan reports that he estimated the losses at $50 billion. "We are alleging a massive fraud - both in terms of scope and duration," said Linda Chatman Thomsen, director of the enforcement division at the Securities and Exchange Commission." )It has now emerged that complaints with the SEC about Madoff were first filed in 2005. Nothing was done of course. Perhaps the SEC had "gone rogue.")