Tobin Project Book on Regulatory Capture

By James Kwak

One of the last things I did in law school was write a paper about the concept of “cultural capture,” which Simon and I discussed briefly in 13 Bankers as one of the elements of the “Wall Street takeover.” The basic idea was that you can observe the same outcomes that you get with traditional regulatory capture without there being any actual corruption. The hard part in writing the paper was distinguishing cultural capture from plain old ideology—regulators making decisions because of their views about the world.

Anyway, the result is being included in a collection of papers on regulatory capture organized by the Tobin Project. It will be published by Cambridge sometime this year, but for now you can download the various chapters here. It features a lineup including many authors far more distinguished than I, including Richard Posner, Luigi Zingales, Tino Cuéllar, Richard Revesz, David Moss, Dan Carpenter, Nolan McCarty, and others. Enjoy.

70 thoughts on “Tobin Project Book on Regulatory Capture

  1. Your concept of cultural capture applies far beyond politics and policymaking. It is a consequence of being human, and it happens in all micro-cultures, whether business, social or family. It takes a strong person, or a sociopath, to resist the social incentives that drive cultural capture.

    During my career on Capitol Hill, in the executive branch, and as a regulator, I have observed this process take place in others and. in retrospect, in me. To one degree or another cultural capture is an inevitable consequence of accommodating political realities in order to be effective. But in many cases the accommodation goes well beyond pragmitism.

    (Cultural capture is not to be confused with infiltration where partisans come to occupy positions in a government institution. Nor should it be confused with “harder” forms of capture where personal economic and power ambitions, and outright corruption, come into play.)

    At base, cultural capture is a “soft” form of capture driven by cognitive dissonance. One might begin with a healthy skepticism of the people pushing agendas and the conventional wisdom of the institutional culture. But over time, as they deepen their immersion in the culture and make their accommodations, they begin, unconsiously, to resolve the dissonance in the conflict between their behavior and their skepticism in favor of their cultural milieu and its powerful social incentives.

    Today, cultural capture is abetted by the shift in attention from policymaking to fundraising, shaping public perception, and the waging of ideological warfare.

    It has also been aided by the relentless acceleration of our lives and the loss of an internal life with the deliberation and contemplation it affords. Resistance to cultural capture requires a space in which that “wee small voice” can survive and be heard.

  2. I only read the summary. This seems to be an attempt to get ahead and justifly the damage the past forty years plus of deregulation plus real damage of debt currency is doing to our Nation.

  3. @Diehl – I went to grammar school with a “DIehl”, an Ellen Diehl. Definitely a strong willed person and not a sociopath. You know ’em when you see ’em. :-)

    The fortunate thing about USA and why it survives so many iterations of “cultural capture” is that it does not actually HAVE a “culture”. Nothing takes root other than craven avarice, violence and sexual depravity. Freedom without license.

    You can see why the rest of the planet is wondering where this is going with policing the world.

  4. Propagandize, control the message, appeal to emotion and not reason, and many will follow.

    That is ‘cultural capture.’

  5. “(Cultural capture is not to be confused with infiltration where partisans come to occupy positions in a government institution. Nor should it be confused with “harder” forms of capture where personal economic and power ambitions, and outright corruption, come into play.)” Philip Diehl
    This actually is the definitive and comprehensive clarification of a coherent spectrum and scope of what “capture” really and actually is in real time. The rest is methodology and scale. Cognitive dissonance is a manipulation…a method. It is not capture itself. Capture is power diversion by stealth. Be it corrupted government infiltrated by crony capitalism, or some fascia of Organized Crime leveraging power for gain in no show jobs where no one dare report it.
    To say that Congress itself is not captured at various degrees is simply a lie. to think that appointments to the supreme court over time is not a form of capture, is simply ignorance or deception. To think that capitalism is not capturing politics with supply and demand tactics (We supply the finance…therefore we make the demands…) is a crude myopia at best.
    One point is that capture is evasive because it is an insider type of process that has interrelated and interdependent facilitators and benefactors. One might say that virtual privatizing of a public political position is capture; and to do so for the purpose of making favorable legislation pass is simply corruption. That means positions are captured; processes are subsequently captured; and outcome is simply corrupted (betrayal of the public trust).

  6. James Kwak: The download access is much appreciated. I suspect this work is going to be expensive. Reviewing it I found Richard Posner quite revealing, and I have a revised opinion of him from the position he presented in the Tobin Project Book. Some work appears to simply equivocate excessively over micro-managing the intrinsic nature of active capture. I also think that attempting to define capture via “regulatory” agency is placing the cart before the horse. Yackee reconsidering Agency Capture comes closer to the active voice truth.
    There are some very good work done here, but the actual empirical evidence still goes untouchable with the exception of historic examples of railroads and radios (as models). The Tobin project is clearly not an “investigative” report loaded with foundation and discovery. The summary statement that the actual discovery is the fact that the system works to prevent capture (Moss & Carpenter p3 of the conclusion) is a disappointing and unfortunate statement.
    On your adoption of “cultural capture” you are on the right track, but cognitive bias is less than the politicized consciousness of market-based information flow; and the deliberate and intentional influence from media and network concentration might have served better as mechanisms of active capture. But the notion of a conforming Washington Consensus would have constituted a better arrangement for formulating a comprehensive (and coercive) foundation to cultural control fraud; and the fallacy of distinction might have served to demonstrate the process of pseudo-choice in capturing a populous political consensus through information controls over network media concentration…and literal infiltration by agency.
    When you expand and write the full book; don’t forget:
    The propaganda, dissonance and overwhelm of “swarm” as techniques are more to the point for militarization, brokering patronage through the capture of Universities and market ideology conducive to massive levels of revenue streaming in a “service” based economy are more intricate and sophisticated levels of cultural capture…along with an incredibly large intelligence community that learns its tricks overseas before bringing them home to our domestic demographics. And last but not least, that Capture is about the tension between control, power and money.

  7. Cultural Capture:
    “Arundhati Roy captures the anti-democratic nature of this process in the following insightful comment. She writes:

    This theft of language, this technique of usurping words and deploying them like weapons, of using them to mask intent and to mean exactly the opposite of what they have traditionally meant, has been one of the most brilliant strategic victories of the czars of the new dispensation. It has allowed them to marginalize their detractors, deprive them of a language to voice their critique and dismiss them as being “anti-progress,” “anti-development,” “anti-reform,” and of course “anti-national” – negativists of the worst sort. To reclaim these stolen words requires explanations that are too tedious for a world with a short attention span, and too expensive in an era when Free Speech has become unaffordable for the poor. This language heist may prove to be the keystone of our undoing.”

    excerpted from:
    Truthout / By Henry A. Giroux
    comments_ 222 COMMENTS
    Has America Become an Authoritarian State?
    On the destruction of our democracy.

  8. Cultural Capture:
    “Michael Hudson goes further in his analysis and characterizes one element of the new extremism as a form of financial warfare waged against not merely the social state but all those groups that historically have fought for expanding political, economic and personal rights. He writes:

    Finance has moved to capture the economy at large, industry and mining, public infrastructure (via privatization) and now even the educational system. (At over $1 trillion, US student loan-debt came to exceed credit-card debt in 2012). The weapon in this financial warfare … is to load economies (governments, companies and families) with debt, siphon off their income as debt service and then foreclose when debtors lack the means to pay. Indebting government gives creditors a lever to pry away land, public infrastructure and other property in the public domain. Indebting companies enable[s] creditors to seize employee pension savings. And indebting labor means that it no longer is necessary to hire strikebreakers to attack union organizers and strikers…. In contrast to the promise of democratic reform nurturing a middle class a century ago, we are witnessing a regression to a world of special privilege in which one must inherit wealth in order to avoid debt and job dependency.

    The second feature of the new extremism is the ongoing commercialization and destruction of democratic public spaces. The latter refers to the ongoing privatization, commercialization and attack on those democratic public spheres that provide the space for critical thinking, informed dialogue, thoughtfulness, the affirmation of non-commodified norms and the unconditional protection of social rights. Institutions of democratic culture such as schools, the art world, unions, the media, and other public spheres where public values and important social issues are both engaged and offer the conditions for producing informed citizens are now viewed with disdain because they embrace modes of critical reasoning and a collective ethos at odds with anti-democratic and market-driven values.”
    excerpted from:
    Truthout / By Henry A. Giroux
    comments_ 222 COMMENTS
    Has America Become an Authoritarian State?
    On the destruction of our democracy.

  9. Cultural Capture:
    The Corporatization of Public Higher Education by Shepherd Bliss
    Posted on January 26, 2013 by dandelionsalad
    by Shepherd Bliss
    “Corporations are pumping an increasing amount of ill-earned big money into public education throughout the United States, trying to bend it to meet their corporate goals. This threatens academic freedom and free speech.

    It is bad enough when one is censored. Self-censorship can be even worse, where one holds back communicating what they really believe. Humanities faculty, such as this reporter, are supposed to teach critical thinking. Instead, when corporations and millionaires buy their way into universities, receive unearned honorary doctorates, and fund research, their biases prevail and dissent is diminished. Students tend to fear challenging corporate power and policies and become obedient, partly so they can get jobs in an employment-scarce climate.”

  10. Corporate Land Grabs Reveal a Hidden Agenda: Controlling the Water
    Selected Excerpt:
    “In the United States, diversion of water for expanded commodity crop production, biofuels and gas hydro-fracking is compounding the crisis in rural areas. In areas ranging from the Ogallala aquifer to the Great Lakes in North America, water has been referred to as liquid gold. Billionaires such as T. Boone Pickens have been buying up land overlying the Ogallala aquifer, acquiring water rights; companies such as Dow Chemicals, with a long history of water pollution, are investing in the business of water purification, making pollution itself a cash-cow.”
    Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy / By Shiney Varghese

    Corporate Land Grabs Reveal a Hidden Agenda: Controlling the Water
    The food crisis and recent droughts have confirmed that controlling the source of food—the land and the water that flows under or by it—are equally or even more important.
    January 24, 2013

  11. Although I like 85%+ of what Mr. Kwak writes and in a general way agree with most his viewpoints, I thought Teacher Kwak’s “cultural capture” paper for Tobin was very weak-kneed and apologetic towards those who are the crux of the problem and really the paper epitomizes (or maybe a better word would be exemplifies ) why lefties and liberals get the crap beat out of them politically year after year in this nation when they hold the majority of votes in this country.

    I mean it as a compliment and an insult, simultaneously, when I say it’s sad to see a man (Teacher Kwak) this intelligent, who can present logical arguments that are cogent and build a strong case, make the lilly-livered type writings Mr. Kwak sometimes does.

  12. Like I said before, USA does not have a “culture”, so no worries about *capturing* it. All this chatter is about deepening the roots of the weeds.

    Out of all the articles posted on this website in – how many years now? – this one is a strong contender for eliciting the most contortionist comments possible.

    Ethically, all these political shenanigans are even a lower form of thievery – mano et mano – than the scene from Les Miserables where they cut her hair and pull her teeth.

    Craven avarice can’t be *beautified* when it is *unregulated*.

    Cut and pasted from a book all you geniuses should read because you have all lost your minds to fear, “…Lucifer’s FOLLY was the attempt to do the nondoable, to short-circuit time in an experiential universe. Lucifer’s CRIME was the attempted creative disenfranchisement of every personality in Satania, the unrecognized abridgement of the creature’s personal participation – freewill participation – in the long evolutionary struggle to attain the status of light and life both individually and collectively….In short, what God had given men and angels, Lucifer would have taken away from them, that is, the DIVINE PRIVELEGE of participating in the creation of their own destinies and of the destiny of this local system of inhabited worlds…..”.

    Even though the kids have not the permission or the faux vocabulary to pinpoint the insanity of their *rulers* and the darkness that is the “future” in their ideology, they do have the image that says it all – “zombies”.

    I prefer “orks” myself, being a fan of LOTR….I guess there’s a reason that LOTR trilogy never included a scene of “orks” having a bookish debate in the library….no one would believe a word they had to say….

  13. @Woych – did we ever have a discussion about whether *corporate* takeovers of land management is superior to the management of land by individuals who have a superior and experiential knowledge of the *science* of land management? Nope. Just like we never have the discussion about a JUST WAR.

    Seems to me that what *corporate* has actually already DONE in the way of land management makes them the least QUALIFIED to be land owners. They lay WASTE to everything they touch. DECADES of evidence! What GIGO have they developed that delivers complete packets of information superior to the cerebral cortex in managing life-maintenece resources?

  14. Blue Gold: World Water Wars (480p) (cc)
    (These links have detailed discussions: here are excerpts that state selected concerns)
    WATER 2009
    Privatization of Water
    “Many argue that water is a human right and as such, it should not be treated like a commodity. However, a number of sophisticated investors believe that water could become the “new oil,” and this view is spurring considerable investment in the industry. ”
    by Franck Poupeau
    “Increasing criticism of market globalisation has not prevented multinationals from controlling such essentials as water, where there are vast potential profits. The market is dominated by two big French multinationals, Vivendi-Generale des eaux and Suez-Lyonnaise des eaux. They now control nearly 40% of the world market, each serving, and billing, more than 110m people, Vivendi in 100 countries, Lyonnaise in 130.
    They owe their profits to the deregulation of trade and the complicity of international institutions and national governments. The market is all the more lucrative because the water services in nearly 85% of the world’s cities are run by public or state companies.”
    “Local loss of control over water charges goes hand in hand with price increases that deny the poor access not only to the water service but also to clear information about minimum health standards.”
    January 13th, 2011
    Tap Water Monopoly: Profiting From a Public Resource
    “It’s actually been happening for a while now, only it’s not always making headlines. Financial institutions like J.P. Morgan and the Carlyle Group are trying to buy up water companies and the already large water corporations like Aqua America, Inc., and American Water are collaborating to expand their stronghold in key markets. All of these private entities are positioning themselves to heartily profit from the commodification of water.
    Back in September 2010, J.P. Morgan purchased SouthWest Water, a large national water company. Just before the holidays, the Carlyle Group announced it plans to purchase the Park Water Company, which owns water systems in California and Missoula, Montana.”
    A Parched Future: Global Land and Water Grabbing (January 7, 2013)
    “The displacement of small farmers, environmental degradation and food insecurity are common concerns in the discussion of land grabbing. A recent study, “Global land and water grabbing”, examines how the mass acquisition of land also has severe impacts on countries’ water reserves, an implication that is often less prominent. Water security in many southern countries is put under strain, particularly in Africa which accounts for over half of the total land grabbed across the globe.”
    see full page of titles in chronological (annual) publication:
    Water in Conflict ( Natural Resources): Global Policy Forum

  15. Addendum:
    Plot Summary for
    Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2008) More at IMDbPro »
    Wars of the future will be fought over water as they are over oil today, as the source of human survival enters the global marketplace and political arena. Corporate giants, private investors, and corrupt governments vie for control of our dwindling supply, prompting protests, lawsuits, and revolutions from citizens fighting for the right to survive. Past civilizations have collapsed from poor water management. Can the human race survive? Written by Sam Bozzo

  16. @anonymous – WHICH *numbers* are on their side? The NO LIMIT on profit, but total limit on CLEAN water? Their profit margins DEPEND on providing UNCLEAN water for people – the outflow from the manufacturing of microchips. The clean water was for the microchips.

    Like I said, COMPLETE incompetence is proven everytime you present the numbers. How much more Luciferian can you get than to do everything possible to ELIMINATE the human species’ *value* in your numbers-driven world by doing it one glass of drinkng water at a time. You are INSANE.

  17. Moses Herzog: “Although I like 85%+ of what Mr. Kwak writes and in a general way agree with most his viewpoints, I thought Teacher Kwak’s “cultural capture” paper for Tobin was very weak-kneed and apologetic…”
    VERY LEGITIMATE criticism…(caveat…)
    It might help to realize that there is a (corruption?) in the utilization of the Business reduction and slanted term “culture” to mean (essentially) the general disposition of employees…while “climate” stands for the general status of a working environment;…
    (closer to Milieu:

    Ironically, this is an example itself of cultural capture…starting with the term “CULTURE” and RENDERING IT by reducing it without consideration for its full historic complexity. No excuses for Kwak, he should have defined his terms and distinguished his conceptual framework from the larger (more significant) meaning.

    Inside Man
    “In the late 1960s, conservatives in the University of Chicago’s economics department, led by George Stigler, began arguing against New Deal regulatory agencies on the grounds that the businesses they were overseeing invariably dominated them, with the result that competition was inhibited. This idea was called “regulatory capture.” It became axiomatic among Chicago School types that if regulation couldn’t function as a disinterested public good, it should be abolished.”

    “The regulatory philosophy of the last three decades—that the government should step aside, almost completely—was really guided more by theory than by historical experience.”

    “One factor was that George Stigler’s idea about regulatory capture was widely accepted. Another was that the thrust of what emerged from the academy argued strongly for placing faith in financial markets. Government failure, not market failure, became the big source of concern.”
    It is surprising, in this regard, that Stigler’s work is still cited as a central and pivotal foundation so frequently and from the point of view of the ivy league authors we were living, not in a welfare state, but in a “regulatory state”. This has cultural capture written all over it.

  19. As a counter to the “regulatory state” of class distinction, we might speak today of the “Bubble State” of class exploitation.
    By 2006, several areas of the world were thought to be in a bubble state, although this contention was not without controversy. This hypothesis was based on observation of similar patterns in real estate markets of a wide variety of countries.[22] This includes similar patterns of overvaluation and excessive borrowing based on those overvaluations.
    The subprime mortgage crisis, with its accompanying impacts and effects on economies in various nations, has given some credence to the idea that these trends might have some common characteristics.[6]
    For individual countries, see:
    Australian property bubble – 1997 – 2012
    British property bubble
    Bulgarian property bubble
    Chinese property bubble
    Danish property bubble
    Indian property bubble
    Irish property bubble – 1999 – 2006
    Japanese asset price bubble
    Lebanese property bubble
    Polish property bubble
    Romanian property bubble
    Spanish property bubble
    United States housing bubble – 1997 – 2006[23]
    Greek property bubble

    check India:
    “The Indian Property Market is purported to be in bubble territory since March 2005, when the current UPA government decided to liberalize foreign direct investment norms in real estate on Feb 26, 2005, introduced the SEZ Act in 2005, and allowed private equity funds into real estate.”
    “Economists have expressed opinion that the property market in Indian cities is in bubble-state and is expected to burst by November 2014. ”
    deregulation seems to have been by capture of government, specifically the UPA government a coalition that is predominantly neoconservative (see:

  20. Alternative = public Interest “theory”
    Public interest theory is an economic theory first developed by Arthur Cecil Pigou[1] that holds that regulation is supplied in response to the demand of the public for the correction of inefficient or inequitable market practices. Regulation is assumed initially to benefit society as a whole rather than particular vested interests.[citation needed] The regulatory body is considered to represent the interest of the society in which it operates rather than the private interests of the regulators.[2]
    “Theories of Economic Regulation”
    Richard A. Posner

    (excerpt from paper):
    “The Public Interest Law movement that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s advanced […a…]vision of court centered social change, drawing on models from civil rights and civil liberty groups, particularly the test-case strategy of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Early litigation victories brought status and resources to developing public interest organizations, which enlisted courts in progressive social reform (p.606).”
    “It was, in part, the very success of public interest litigation that threatened its structural foundations. Courthouse victories fueled a conservative reaction seeking to limit federal authority over civil rights and civil liberties. economic and environmental regulation and social welfare (p.607).” (download from abstract)

    Public Interest Litigation: Insights from Theory and Practice
    Scott Cummings
    University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – School of Law
    Deborah Rhode
    Stanford Law School
    Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. XXXVI, 2009
    UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 09-19
    NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 08/09 #19

  22. The hands of time are black and white, annie, if you look closely at your posts over time, you will see the true definition of insanity. Which is doing, or repeating, the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. Are you certain YOU have not gone over the deep edge this time? Every time you open your mouth, you prove we are right. Just War back at ya. : > ). And no I don’t know who we are.

  23. YOU are the predator who does the same thing over and over again. I keep finding new ways to slay you :-)

    No one misses the FACT that you started the fight.

    So who has the mental illness here? When the wealth disparity is so great between people, why do the 480 USA citizens who are worth a collective total of 2.08 TRILLION in FIAT $$$$ that they funneled to themselves over 40 years from a civilized, moon-walking and law-abiding Middle Class – WHY are you HOOLIGANS so aggressive in chasing down people who have what all that $$$$ can’t buy you? How is your “safety” more assured now that we moon-walkers are gone and replaced with Mexican Drug Lords and their soon-to-be-legal-citizen coyotes?

    40 years of doing the same thing is YOUR game, isn’t it? The very definition of “conservative”, no?

  24. No, I add on to my amusement, as you add on to the misery of the moment. Crumbling walls are no way to hold down a wall humpty.

    Is that humpty dumpty??

  25. Annie: getting back to substantial considerations, I thought you might find this material of interest. it is the bigger picture concerning lack of regulation in the first place. Big Money can’t be ignored politically even if the long term issues are catastrophic. A local article in the news recently talked about the “billions” made by the (aggregate) Pennsylvania land owners from Fracking interests pauing them royalties. It seemed like more of an advertisement then a news article. Meanwhile, this gets buried in research exile:
    (this is just an excerpt; the article is quite expansive in scope)
    The Destruction of the Earth’s Ecology: Nature’s Capital Is The Limiting Resource
    By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
    Global Research, January 27, 2013 25 January 2013
    “Many associate ecological destruction with population pressure. However, the toxicity associated with mining, fracking, chemical fertilizer and GMO farming, and the adverse watershed effects of logging is turning even low density states such as Montana into an environment with ruined soil and water.

    In Montana mining has produced a legacy of toxicity–mercury, arsenic, cyanide, cadmium, lead, and zinc. These toxic substances have found their way into Montana’s fishing rivers and into reservoirs. From reservoirs toxic substances have leaked into groundwater and into the wells that supply homes. In 1981 groundwater serving family wells in areas of Montana was found with arsenic levels 42 times higher than federal standards permit.

    Before Montana could find ways to retrieve its water resources from the toxic run-offs from mining, a new threat has appeared: hydraulic fracking. Fracking uses huge amounts of surface water, which it infuses with toxic chemicals to aid the extraction of underground gas and oil deposits that are otherwise unrecoverable. The energy industry and its media shills are touting “energy independence” in order to sway the public away from environmentalists, who are warning of the dangers.

    Some of fracking’s toxic wastes stay in the ground and seep into aquifers, destroying the water supply. The toxic water that comes back up with the gas or oil has to be disposed of. On occasion, it ends up in city or town waste water treatment plants, which cannot detoxify the water, and in streams where toxic run-off can reduce nitrogen and phosphorus and produce golden algae (prymnesium parvum) which destroys all aquatic life. The use of surface water for fracking might already have depleted the streams that supplied the water, lowering their volume and thus making them vulnerable to other pollution, such as septic tank run-offs and algae from higher temperatures due to a lower water level.

    While promising “energy independence,” fracking actually threatens to destroy our fresh water supplies. Recently, researchers have given attention to the fact that water might be the limiting resource and end up more valuable than oil, gas, or gold.”
    For a massive display of titles from Global Research see:

    Regulating Financial Markets under Obama II: Wall Street’s in Good Hands with Mary Jo White
    By Stephen Lendman
    Global Research, January 26, 2013
    “On January 24, Obama nominated Mary Jo White as SEC head. “You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo,” he said.”
    Mary Schapiro was SEC head from January 2009 – December 2012. She’s a consummate insider. She spent years promoting self-regulation.
    …..Expect Mary Jo White to operate the same way. She’s a consummate insider. She’s considered safe. Why else would Obama choose her? He’s beholden to Wall Street. Money power owns him.
    She currently heads Debevoise & Plimpton’s litigation department. It’s a New York-based international law firm. It serves corporate clients. Its Wall Street ones include a rogue’s gallery of white collar crooks.

    JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, UBS and Bank of America among others are represented.
    White defended B of A’s former head, Ken Lewis. Until stepping down in September 2009, he was Bank of America chairman, president and CEO. He reflects the worst of Wall Street crooks. He’s got lots of company.
    White’s husband, John White, represents an obvious conflict of interest. He formerly headed SEC’s corporate finance section. He’s now at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. It’s a prominent New York law firm. White lobbies against regulation.
    {so…is this a tainted gray of capture or the real thing; we ask?}…
    “Expect no change on White’s watch.

    Expect business as usual at SEC. As top regulatory cop, she’ll take full advantage. Her predecessors did the same. Whitewashing crime in the suites pays. Lucrative private sector jobs follow government service.

    White will be better than ever rewarded when she leaves. She knows the game and plays it. She did it before. She’ll do it again. Career prospects depend on it.”

  27. (research credit)
    The u$ual $uspect$, $till unpuni$hed
    Posted on 2013 January 29 | 1 Comment
    Obama Admin. Fails to Prosecute Banking Fraud to ‘Save the System’
    Published on Jan 29, 2013
    James S. Henry commenting on PBS documentary “The Untouchables”: If one of these institutions was indicted and made an example of, it would have a profound affect on the whole industry – but Obama raises money on Wall St.

  28. 2010…so long ago…regulatory capture or regulatory control fraud>
    Economist Simon Johnson Interviewed In-Studio by TYT

  29. ………………and for the sake of counterbalances: FRAUD
    BILL MOYERS JOURNAL | William K. Black on Fraud | PBS
    Uploaded on Apr 28, 2010
    As President Obama makes the case for strong financial reform, Bill Moyers sits down with veteran regulator William K. Black, who says Wall Street is already been breaking current rules.
    Aired April 23, 2010 on PBS.

  30. note: (criminogenic cited above @10.15+ minutes compares the term as parallel to pathogenic : see a summary review of the term criminogenic here from other discussions:
    So for William BLACK “cultural” capture as internalized rationalizations perversely made normative; without concern for “externalizations” of social domains at the expense or in the expanse of that true full spectrum externalized Culture…would be more akin to “criminogenic environments” that maximize incentives to defraud.
    (it is, in my opinion, closer to prison logic)
    Posted in William K. Black
    Tagged banksters, Control Fraud, criminogenic environment, Mankiw morality

    William Black’s Speech at the 2013 Public Eye Awards in Davos Switzerland.

  31. Bill Black: Our System is So Flawed That Fraud is Mathematically Guaranteed : (Control Fraud) = Capture

    “Edward Bernays, the founder of the modern propaganda industry, described the process:
    Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of … in almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.[1]”
    Excerpted from:
    Class Warfare, the Final Chapter
    Tuesday 15 March 2011
    by: Michael Pirsch, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

    “Finally, it is our right and our duty to replace the corrupted government with one that works for the public welfare, ensuring that the wealthy elite never again endanger all life on this planet or destroy our collective humanity. We are “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights … among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” We must recognize our government has become destructive of those ends and reform it. The Declaration of Independence goes on to say, “mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuse and usurpations … reduce them under absolute despotism… ” we must then accomplish wholesale change. Have you suffered enough, or do you want more?”
    Summary Excerpted from:
    Class Warfare, the Final Chapter
    Tuesday 15 March 2011
    by: Michael Pirsch, t r u t h o u t | News Analysis

  34. @Woych – it’s not regulatory capture, it’s the lack of enforcement that is the problem, isn’t it?

    FIAT $$$$ sloshing around in a GIGO system where there is no limit to “profit taking”. What could go wrong there?

    Anne Hathaway got an award for her role in Les Miserables. It’s the greed of the “poor” that protects the greed of the “rich”. Steal the hair and the teeth from the young….how long has that “science” been around? But this latest interpretation/performance of Les Miserables is a whopper as far as “cultural capture” goes – the Innkeepers are sympathetic characters, and *funny* and since so many people never saw the play, but are seeing the movie and that’s their first exposure to the story….now what?

    Do you think the “innkeepers” in D.C. ever used a single brain cell in their skull to consider whether it is smart to poison the water and air and land?

    To be fair, you have to throw in the microchip revolution into the pollution mix….and pharmaceutical molecules….so it’s a trinity of pollution – energy, microchips, and sci fi lie genetic “chemistry”.

    You need 10 pence? Pretty hair…I’ll give you 10 pence for it…you can feed your child one more day….

  35. Two bits buys you a dozen black roses, and a beautiful site for all the chasers out there. And to think it was 22 years of extra baggage, as if the former was not time enough. O the web we weave, when we first practice to deceive.

  36. Up is down, day is night, right is wrong, – wrong is right! This is the new world order fiction pimped and bruted by propaganda and disinformation covens that own and control the socalled MSM. Crimes go unpunished because the criminals are doing godzwerk, -evils are excused or ignored by the MSM parrots who pimp and brute the partisan patriotic partyline. Trillions wasted in profiteering, oceans of blood shed to enrich the predatorclass. This is the world we inhabit. Night is day, the ruleoflaw betrayed, truth is twisted into fiction and defrayed, fiction conjured into fact, and good men lack the courage to act or react to an ocean of lies.

    We swim in an ocean of lies. There is no truth, there are no facts, reality itself is shapeshifted by the ruthless mangling of language and the onesided pimping and bruting of the predatorclass partyline, into unreality and the ridiculous fictions and base carnival spectacles of reality series reality.

    Our politicians are no more trustworthy than sidewinders. Coldblooded reptiles rule this nation and their coldblooded policies rule the day and force on the people fictions as facts, falseness as truth, evil as good, wrong as right. The roves, and bushes, and cheney, and their partisan parrots in the wingnut media have dismembered and destroyed language and truth, facts and reality – and shapeshifted our former principles, laws, and language, and that thing we call the Constitution into a newworldorder horrorshow of putrid lies, distortion, disinformation, and propaganda, and predatorclass profiteering!

    There are no laws, no facts, and no truths! And in a world where there are no laws, facts, or truths – there are no laws, facts, or truths for anyone predatorclass biiiiiaaaatches!

    Burn it all down! Reset! It’s the only viable option!!!

    Richard (RJ) Eskow
    A Creepy Student Essay Contest Reflects Wall Street’s War For Young Minds
    Posted: 01/31/2013 8:29 pm

    “And speaking of predators: Petegorsky rightly notes that the Blackstone Group is exploiting the foreclosure crisis by purchasing $2.5 billion in distressed properties. And that CEO Steve Schwarzman once compared the elimination of a tax break for hedge fund managers to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

    Blackstone’s other co-founder is Pete Peterson. He’s the billionaire who’s financing much of today’s phony deficit hysteria through shell organizations, which promote government cuts rather than tax increases for people like him.”
    (as I stated above):
    The summary statement that the actual discovery is the fact that the system works to prevent capture (Moss & Carpenter p3 of the conclusion) is a disappointing and unfortunate statement.

  38. @Woych – Why did you leave this out of your cut and paste? :-))

    “…(Schwarzman was enraged at the thought of being taxed under the same rules as a Stockton police officer.)….”

    360 degree head spin – “enraged” – still scares everyone…?

  39. (…I like that Anon…! pretty much on the spot)
    reply to Annie: They don’t belong in the same breath. I remember him saying this and I thought it was an demonic statement. He wasn’t in Poland, and he has invaded whole corporations, countries and regions with his vicious and aggressive exploitation and pillage. He is the “legal” Hitler on steroids. Count the toll of victims in his wake.
    But more than this, there is a qualitative distinction concerning the scale and scope of the two statements. His “invasion” analogy was a reference to an attempt (on issue & topic for this current theme) to close a loophole in finance privileges. It was in line with Hedge Fund Regulatory regulatory abandonment.
    Sunday, Apr 1, 2012 9:00 PM UTC
    How billionaires destroy democracy
    Wealthy Wall Streeters have rigged the economy and the government against the people. Here’s how they did it
    By Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks
    Kenneth Griffin, Philip Falcone, Jim Simons and John Paulson testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the regulation of hedge funds in 2008. (Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)
    “There are many words that could be used to describe Barack Obama, but one adjective decidedly doesn’t fit: Aggressive. So it was more than passing strange when a prominent member of Wall Street — Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of the private equity giant Blackstone Group — compared actions by President Obama to one of the most notoriously aggressive acts by one of history’s most aggressive villains. Speaking to the board of a nonprofit group, Schwarzman fiercely denounced initiatives by the Obama administration: “It’s war. It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
    “…But what was striking about the Hitler comment — besides its sheer viciousness and absurdity — was what had provoked it. Schwarzman wasn’t complaining about undue military force, torture, or ethnic cleansing. He was likening the president to the most reviled man in history on the grounds that Obama was trying to close a tax loophole that allowed hedge fund and private equity managers (like Schwarzman) to pay tax at a rate that Warren Buffett famously noted was lower than that paid by their secretaries.” So the comparison to the Stockton Police was simply a paraphrase of a sarcastic remark made by someone else.
    But by conjuring up Hitler and Poland, Schwarzman showed his true colors. And they are NOT Red / White and Blue!
    And yet still… the real foundational distinction is not even what Warren Buffett sarcastically stated…but hypocritically and ironically THIS fact. Schwarzman REALLY wasn’t paying taxes like everyone else:
    Revolt of the Rich
    Our financial elites are the new secessionists.
    By Mike Lofgren • August 27, 2012
    “Schwarzman benefits from the so-called “carried interest rule” loophole: financial sharks typically take their compensation in the form of capital gains rather than salaries, thus knocking down their income-tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. But that’s not the only way Mr. Skin-in-the-Game benefits: the 6.2 percent Social Security tax and the 1.45 percent Medicare tax apply only to wages and salaries, not capital gains distributions. Accordingly, Schwarzman is stiffing the system in two ways: not only is his income-tax rate less than half the top marginal rate, he is shorting the Social Security system that others of his billionaire colleagues like Pete Peterson say is unsustainable and needs to be cut.”
    “The objective of the predatory super-rich and their political handmaidens is to discredit and destroy the traditional nation state and auction its resources to themselves. Those super-rich, in turn, aim to create a “tollbooth” economy, whereby more and more of our highways, bridges, libraries, parks, and beaches are possessed by private oligarchs who will extract a toll from the rest of us. Was this the vision of the Founders? Was this why they believed governments were instituted among men—that the very sinews of the state should be possessed by the wealthy in the same manner that kingdoms of the Old World were the personal property of the monarch?”
    (Written by a disgusted Republican with integrity and a moral conscious shattered by direct experience and he summarized his article with a conclusion that speaks loudly and clearly:
    “But in globalized postmodern America, what if this whole vision about where order, stability, and a tolerable framework for governance come from, and who threatens those values, is inverted? What if Christopher Lasch came closer to the truth in The Revolt of the Elites, wherein he wrote, “In our time, the chief threat seems to come from those at the top of the social hierarchy, not the masses”? Lasch held that the elites—by which he meant not just the super-wealthy but also their managerial coat holders and professional apologists—were undermining the country’s promise as a constitutional republic with their prehensile greed, their asocial cultural values, and their absence of civic responsibility.

    Lasch wrote that in 1995. Now, almost two decades later, the super-rich have achieved escape velocity from the gravitational pull of the very society they rule over. They have seceded from America.

    Mike Lofgren served 16 years on the Republican staff of the House and Senate Budget Committees. He has just published The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.
    But Annie…It is nice to know you are going to the links + full articles.

    January 30, 2013: Blackstone, a capital firm that manages over $200 billion worth of assets, is buying up foreclosed homes in select cities around the nation. The plan is to control rent prices and securitize rent income flows and home equity increases. They forgot to mention that in their infomercial so someone took the liberty of editing the video to be a bit more factual.
    The facts behind Invitation Homes and Blackstone

  41. Matt Taibbi on Why We Can’t Let Banks Off the Hook
    February 1, 2013
    “Journalist Matt Taibbi assesses the Obama Administration’s approach to holding banks accountable for their behavior, and early indications are not promising. Taibbi tells Bill that fearing another economic calamity is no excuse for turning a blind eye to shockingly unethical decisions and management.”

    Watch Bill’s full conversation with Taibbi on this weekend’s Moyers & Company.

  42. Wow. Since I last visited Baseline Scenario, Bruce E. Woych seems to have completely hijacked the comments. Too bad. Not that I don’t appreciate and even agree with Mr. Woych’s remarks, because often I do. But turning the comments section into a monologue devalues the blog, and probably does not have the persuasive effect that B.E.W. seems to be trying to achieve. Anyhow, it’s a big turn-off as far as I’m concerned.

  43. It is always your prerogative to hit the road, you have a licence to just that. Now if it takes someone, or two people to sneak behind enemy lines, and expose some ugly truths, I see no harm in hijacking a blog, or even a whole neighborhood, for that matter, if that what it takes to even the playing field. And certainly it does not devalue the curve veracity of the blog itself, since so few blogs have truly compassionate 1st amendment administrators. Perhaps it’s commentators are influenced to mind their pints and quarts or be held liable for the trash spewed into it’s blogosphere. But the same shall hold true on the streets of Washington soon enough, and then those same hijackers will be turning up the comments, but tuning out when the lower classes need some valuable guidance in the troubling days ahead.

    Why thank you very much there Bruce,

    We do need to find and intimidate the Carl Ichans of the world, to show them that cash money should NOT be your first God of choice. And that their are limits to the earth’s resources, and to it’s orbiting citizens willingness to subject themselves to the financial abuses the upper classes intend to impose on them in the near future.

  44. @Woych, “…But Annie…It is nice to know you are going to the links + full articles….”

    Naw, I just have the paperwork – the details – of what happens after they put you on their list for financial genocide ala *taxes*. I still find that sarcastic remark the bottom line analysis – there is no boundary to what they will do to not pay taxes. It’s a mental sickness. But in USA, it’s called *success* to be delusional about what you can “own” as an oligarth….why? Because FIAT $$$$ distributed through a fractional reserve banking scheme IS *god*. The cultural capture was completed a long time ago in USA, no?

    Let’s face it, the enemy the 99% have to contend with, at this stage of the game, are the people in their own community – the collective greed of the *poor* that they play with Greed’s twin sister – “Cheap”.

    Your analytical skills might want to turn to for-profit health insurance companies as proof that FIAT $$$$ descends into the community to harvest organs and make you pay a lot more to die. The ultimate “rent extraction”…

    I never forget that it is FIAT $$$$….neither should you.

  45. Annie: Much respect to you. I never forget either…and my assessment is… (fill in the blanks where I miss a step…)
    …the GDP is bullshit in relation to gold. The entire system is based upon the “production” of capital not an asset production base. The actual asset base, at best. are securities related to and directly attributing value to a scarcity peg which is still gold at the bottom line for distribution and standards of exchange. The systemic itself, riding upon fiat currencies, maintains a float but it must be adjusted to some form of quick “real” assets that can provide the wealth set (based upon currency distribution) with a safety net 9or the true resource of last resot). The “oversupply” of currency would become worthless from carry trades, QEs, or simply a failure of trust…, so a staggering system of exchanges maintain a “shadow systemic” pegging system of safety nets by the money managers at the center of power. The popular “sentiment” and “empirically valid” relationship between the Fed and the Markets see the release of money (through any mechanism from M3 to interest rates to monetary easing to pure media speculation) as a prime driver for stock investment enthusiasm 9stupid anxiety driven need) and market supports rationalize market (peoples life savings) losses as cost balancing market containment. The actual full spectrum is somewhat contrary and is based upon deeply entrenched cost/value shifting.. by insiders. The so called “stimulus” towards growth (political) is just as often a reactionary response (bribery & direct influence leveraging) not a starter. Currently we are in such a reaction 9aggression) not a stimulus (healthy therapeutic repair) pump based upon strategic growth and value based infrastructural asset growth..towards a solid based (demographically assessed) future.
    What people are really interested in is how to invest in the myopic future. this is ridden with signal to noise ratio and belief denials by the true believers. True believers = the legends in the grave yard.
    So here’s my (daresay) near assessment:
    The money supply (field of controls) itself is actually now being pumped (quantitative easing, tax relief incentives every form of increasing available liquidity) by the stock market not the other way around, therefore the “smart money” (as they say) moved over to stocks a month ago with a band wagon effect following the trend to dump gold (liquidate & take profits) jump to stocks,….and they will abandon this strategy (sometime? key is timing with the insider “smart money”…) sometime before March 1. Then the stocks will get dumped (calling it a correction…) and the “pump” (more like an erection) will go towards gold (and somewhat to bonds) in order to secure something closer to “real” assets in proportion to the (hyper-inflating-quant… new currency floats by the so-called “easing” process.(more like squeezing the real value out of the inflated paper {aka:stocks} corporate grand portfolio profiled by its index of GDP). Having offset inflation by stock market redistribution of losses (suckers…) through securities (stock transactions), the now-new “real” money stays in proportion to the swing values (now rising securely) on the new high tide of gold & Bonds. In the meantime, value flow can be arbitraged on real goods with derivative bets and commodity floating futures that can jump in anticipation and even outright manipulation (global food & energy prices) even while the downward slide of stock market values (interpreted in the media as a panic attack) can crash to new lows before their up-swing becomes another profit-driver to pump & manipulate, capture and dump when ripe simply because the disproportions of money supply allocations and availability give not only advantage but total proxy control over prices and stock movement trends. So the current trend will continue through the inversion in March (coincident with the Business year’s 4th quarter and notorious for timing the flash crashes of past years). This inversion will be predictably sustained as a steady flow of balances between the ups and downs of a profit pumping stock market feeding the 1% wealth club’s progressive accumulations of “capital” while the liquid “asset bases” are maintained in proportionate value to sustain a faith in the fiat scaffolds of pseudo-supported wealth (and prevent what might be old equivalent to a run on the bank, or the international concern for capital flight…but essentially entails a flight to asset security which would (class-internally) intrinsically mean a panic among the wealthy international cohorts and a frenzy in the currency markets with a race to the bottom (AKA: total collapse). Regardless of the foundations of corruptions in the national and international communities of politically competitive and ruthless corporate political economies, the balance of value-based exchange systems are the driving force that is captured to secure some level of balance in the overall operational apparatus, and (at the lightest level of vindication for its actions) it is coerced into accepting the beast with the breast that feeds it.

    In immediate near-sighted terms of predictability and bread on the table dynamics, this current seasonal counterbalancing act will be steadily (erratic looking but predictable) until around the suspenseful (April to June phasing) when things will go to tea leaf reading and signal to noise manipulations over the summer by the Hedge funds oligarchy of GANGS that serve the Sovereign Wealth hegemony who own the 3 -RING Monty-media circus and create the graffiti that people follow on the WALL tombstones in the Big STREET (smart?) graveyards.
    Bruce E. WOYCH

  46. All of which is internally self-justified and legitimated by economic cold war superstructure strategies, …and the long term blow-back of currency wars and a corporate culture that has been facilitated by the most powerful human experience on earth…Washington DC.
    (and all the pathogenic facilitators of fear mongering opportunity)

  47. Kwak says the hard part is “distinguishing cultural capture from plain old ideology–regulators making decisions because of their views about the world.” As if regulators aren’t the pawns of Wall Street kings and queens. It sounds like Kwak is hoping to win the Professional Hair Splitter of the Year Award, which Lloyd Blankfein bestows on academics who’ve mastered the art of equivocation. Open your eyes Kwak, regulators are mere puppets of elites for whom corruption is a way of life. The only hope for elitist cretins like Dimon and Blankmind, is to create a culture of corruption so foul, they almost appear normal.

    Edward Kane is a senior research fellow at the F.D.I.C. He comments on regulatory capture in this short clip:

    For more info on regulatory capture go to:


    Never mind that the MAJORITY of USA citizens are appalled at the barbarians at the Legal Gate, yet unable to muster an equal and opposite *re-ACTion* because we have been far too civilized for far too long so we don’t want to consider any other way to stop the barbarians other than with more paperwork, drugs, and perception management (AKA “regulatory”) – which failed to ensure the kind of rule of law that is an EARNED regulatory process because it was evolutionary – trial and error. Mistakes made that too deeply cut into sustainable life-maintenance are mistakes that the higher cerebral cortex of man cannot make again – HE, himself, had decided that when he looked at the landscape of iniquity he created. Then under no duress other than the pangs of hunger and the savagery that allows no beauty to grow any food, LAWS formed. Human nature being discussed – as inevitable – needs to include the inevitable search for justice and fairness – which were both uplifted by the introduction of mercy.

    All of us can tell you from every imaginable angle of a debate argument, why we have a “strong opinion” about our moral standards. WE EARNED THEM. We earned our moral standards.

    So that should help the world figure out whether we all have really lost our cotton-pickin’ minds and the answer is “No. We have not. We have not lost the light. Fear not.”

    The *stuff* we are going to turn back into ploughshares from the swords will be a leap frog over the microchip gizmos and robots epic – Mother Nature is stepping into the fight.

    When you see that 360 head spin so many times that it’s like that video game you finally scored in in the millions – just a game – it doesn’t scare you anymore. It’s just nuts. You don’t even have to listen if you are in the “operations” program of the turning…

    America’s new culture of corruption
    In America today, crime pays — if you’re powerful.
    By Paul Campos
    “After absorbing a ferocious legal and public relations assault from the company’s hired guns, federal prosecutors have apparently decided that “chaos and porous risk controls at the firm, rather than fraud, allowed the money to disappear.” This can be called the “it’s complicated” defense, which Wall Street masters of the universe have been deploying with great success ever since they wrecked the world economy back in 2007.”
    “…All this represents an institutionalized culture of corruption.”
    America’s new culture of corruption
    Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

  50. Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime In Contemporary Society [Paperback]
    David O. Friedrichs (Author)

    Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime In Contemporary Society by David O. Friedrichs (Jun 25, 2009)

  51. The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy [Paperback]
    Christopher Lasch (Author)

  52. Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind: Intercultural Cooperation and its Importance for Survival
    Geert Hofstede (Author)
    From the Back Cover
    The Classic Work on “Groupthink”-now in paperback! Since its original hardcover publication, this trailblazing work has stirred a response so deep and wide that its subtitle has become part of our language. Now for the first time in paperback, Geert Hofstede’s study of the “software of the mind” helps us look at how we think-also at how we fail to think as members of groups. Drawing on decades of rigorous research, the author reveals the unexamined rules by which we live and work together. Melding unswerving intellectual courage and hard social, cultural, and organizational research, Hofstede shapes a sobering picture of a world perilously lacking in self-knowledge-unaware of serious difference between the groups that populate our planet and appallingly oblivious to the hidden “programs” that govern the behavior of cultures in a time of skyrocketing global contact. But culture shock-whether the shocking contact is between an individual and a new country, between organizations, between the sexes, or between opposing diplomats-can be turned to our advantage, Hofstede says-if we understand it. And understanding is what this work is all about. This is a book that every thinking person will want to read. Broad in scope, profoundly original in thought and profoundly important, it offers vital knowledge and insight on issues that will shape the future of our individual and collective lives. and profoundly
    See all Editorial Reviews
    Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind: Intercultural Cooperation and its Importance for Survival

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