Stop the presses. The president launched a “corporate fraud prevention” task force. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/09/20020926-2.html
Another mission accomplished?
Now, back to reality!
This press release is no different than others coming out of a government body – high on process; low on results. The record of “accomplishment” is an exercise in “creative writing” – where are these 150 criminals?
This raises two fundamental questions:
- What role, if any, does the government have in corporate governance?
- Why are the shareholders asleep at the wheel?
- Aren’t they supposed to be taking care of their own investments?
In a free market economy, the only protection of property is inherent in the fundamental that drives such an economy – self interest. If shareholders do not pay attention to their own investments, this or any other government will certainly not. First, there is an issue of scale – no government is big enough to know what is going on in a $14 trillion economy! Then there is the issue of competence – when was the last time you saw a brilliant bureaucrat?
And we promise not to discuss the issue of intent – governments are put in place by people who take money from other people to get elected. These other people are usually ones who represent corporate interests and want something in return – remember, this is America and nothing is for free.
Corporate governance is the responsibility of every shareholder. If you do not demand it, you will not get it.
P.S.: Oh yeah, lest we forget, now check the date on the press release! How did this task force do over the past 5 years?