Only Government Intervention Can Stop Corrupt Capitalism
July 11, 2012
Commentary by: Ben Heineman, Belfer Center senior fellow
Topic: Corporate corruption
“At the core of capitalism are powerful forces that, if unconstrained, cause corporate corruption, as reflected in two recent corporate scandals, one involving Barclays and a second involving GlaxoSmithKline.
These cases raise starkly, yet again, the issue of how to realize the benefits of market capitalism while restraining the powerful impulses to cut corners, cheat, and commit fraud. This ageless question is of special moment in this polarized political season, in which the role of government is central. The cases rebut the assertions of the Republicans, Tea Partyers, libertarians, and corporate leaders who wish to reduce the reach of law and government and who believe that markets will always self-regulate — people from Ayn Rand and Russell Kirk, to Ron Paul and Grover Norquist, to Tea-Party Republican majorities in the House who want to ‘starve government,’ to individual and corporate donors to super PACs, all of whom are today shaping the Republican message.”
Heineman also wrote “Child Abuse at Penn State: The Former University President’s Responsibility” for the Atlantic on July 12, 2012.