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01览:081 全球经济的公司犯罪潮 作者:网龙
主题:全球经济的公司犯罪潮
作者:网龙 03:35am 11/05/2011

萨克斯:全球经济的公司犯罪潮
The Global Economy's Corporate Crime Wave  -  By Jeffrey D. Sachs


有钱能使鬼推磨,钱正在腐蚀全世界的政治和市场;由于财富和权力与法律之间有着密切的联系,因此控制压制公司犯罪是一场艰难的战斗
Given the close connections of wealth and power with the law, reining in corporate crime will be an enormous struggle.

  纽约——
  公司欺诈正在全世界泛滥,而重灾区正是发达国家——被认为“治理良好”的国家。贫困国家政府可能接受了更多的贿赂,存在更多的违法行为,但为非作歹最甚的跨国公司可都是来自发达国家的。有钱能使鬼推磨,钱正在腐蚀全世界的政治和市场。
NEW YORK – The world is drowning in corporate fraud, and the problems are probably greatest in rich countries – those with supposedly “good governance.” Poor-country governments probably accept more bribes and commit more offenses, but it is rich countries that host the global companies that carry out the largest offenses. Money talks, and it is corrupting politics and markets all over the world.

  几乎是每一天,我们都能听到新的不法行为发生。过去十年来,没有一家华尔街公司没有支付过巨额罚款,要么是因为作假帐,要么是因为内部交易,要么是因为证券诈骗,要么是因为庞氏骗局,要么是因为CEO肆无忌惮地挪用公款。纽约最近在审理一大批内部交易案,牵涉不少领袖级金融业人物。随之而来的是一系列罚款——美国主要投行必须为层出不穷的证券诈骗付出代价。
Hardly a day passes without a new story of malfeasance. Every Wall Street firm has paid significant fines during the past decade for phony accounting, insider trading, securities fraud, Ponzi schemes, or outright embezzlement by CEOs. A massive insider-trading ring is currently on trial in New York, and has implicated some leading financial-industry figures. And it follows a series of fines paid by America’s biggest investment banks to settle charges of various securities violations.

  然而,很少有人因此承担责任。因华尔街大银行不择手段的行为所造成的史上最大金融危机已过去两年,却没有一位金融业大亨被投入监狱。公司因诈骗而受罚,为此买单的并非CEO和管理者,而是股东。罚金通常只是畸高利润的一小部分,这让华尔街感到腐败行为总能获得很高的回报率。时至今日,银行游说集团仍然不把监管者和政客放在眼里。
There is, however, scant accountability. Two years after the biggest financial crisis in history, which was fueled by unscrupulous behavior by the biggest banks on Wall Street, not a single financial leader has faced jail. When companies are fined for malfeasance, their shareholders, not their CEOs and managers, pay the price. The fines are always a tiny fraction of the ill-gotten gains, implying to Wall Street that corrupt practices have a solid rate of return. Even today, the banking lobby runs roughshod over regulators and politicians.

  腐败为美国政治开支不少。现任佛罗里达州长里克·斯科特(RickScott)曾是一家名叫Columbia/HCA的大型医疗公司的CEO。该公司被指通过超额计偿欺诈美国政府,最终被判14项重罪成立,罚款17亿美元。
Corruption pays in American politics as well. The current governor of Florida, Rick Scott, was CEO of a major health-care company known as Columbia/HCA. The company was charged with defrauding the United States government by overbilling for reimbursement, and eventually pled guilty to 14 felonies, paying a fine of $1.7 billion.

  联邦调查局的调查使得斯科特被迫下台。但是,在该公司有罪判决做出10年后,斯科特卷土重来,这一次披上了“自由市场”共和党政治家的画皮。
The FBI’s investigation forced Scott out of his job. But, a decade after the company’s guilty pleas, Scott is back, this time as a “free-market” Republican politician.

  当巴拉克·奥巴马希望有人能站出来帮助拯救美国汽车业的时候,他将目光投向了华尔街“修车工”斯蒂芬·拉特纳(StevenRattner),而他心知肚明拉特纳正因向政府官员提供回扣而在接受调查。在完成了白宫的工作之后,拉特纳用几百万美元的罚款摆平了这件案子。
When Barack Obama wanted somebody to help with the bailout of the US automobile industry, he turned to a Wall Street “fixer,” Steven Rattner, even though Obama knew that Rattner was under investigation for giving kickbacks to government officials. After Rattner finished his work at the White House, he settled the case with a fine of a few million dollars.

  但问题又为何止州长和总统顾问?前副总统迪克·切尼(DickCheney)在进入白宫前是哈里伯顿(Halliburton)CEO。在他任职哈里伯顿期间,该公司被指向尼日利亚官员非法行为以换取进入该国油田的权利,这一权利至少价值数十亿美元。尼日利亚政府向哈里伯顿提起行贿诉讼,但该公司选择了用钱息事宁人——付出3.5亿美元罚款换取庭外和解。当然,切尼的前途并未受此案任何影响。这个案子只是在美国新闻界掀起了些许波澜。
But why stop at governors or presidential advisers? Former Vice President Dick Cheney came to the White House after serving as CEO of Halliburton. During his tenure at Halliburton, the firm engaged in illegal bribery of Nigerian officials to enable the company to win access to that country’s oil fields – access worth billions of dollars. When Nigeria’s government charged Halliburton with bribery, the company settled the case out of court, paying a fine of $35 million. Of course, there were no consequences whatsoever for Cheney. The news barely made a ripple in the US media.

  逃脱刑罚的情况十分普遍——事实上,大多数公司犯罪根被没有引起人们的注意。少数引起人们关注的案子通常也只是给些不痛不痒的惩罚,向公司(意味着其股东)拍出一张不大不小的罚单了事。位居这些公司最高位的真正的罪犯根本无需担惊受怕。就算公司不得不支付巨额罚单,他们也照样能坐稳CEO的位子。股东太分散,权力太小,根本不能对管理层形成多大的控制。
Impunity is widespread – indeed, most corporate crimes go un-noticed. The few that are noticed typically end with a slap on the wrist, with the company – meaning its shareholders – picking up a modest fine. The real culprits at the top of these companies rarely need to worry. Even when firms pay mega-fines, their CEOs remain. The shareholders are so dispersed and powerless that they exercise little control over the management.

  腐败横行——在美国、欧洲、中国、印度、非洲、巴西以及其他地区——引发了一系列颇具挑战性的问题——它的源头是什么?有什么办法控制它的燎原之势?
The explosion of corruption – in the US, Europe, China, India, Africa, Brazil, and beyond – raises a host of challenging questions about its causes, and about how to control it now that it has reached epidemic proportions.

  公司腐败失控有两大原因。首先,如今的大公司多是跨国公司,而政府则否。大公司财大气粗,以至于政府不太敢拿它们开刀。
Corporate corruption is out of control for two main reasons. First, big companies are now multinational, while governments remain national. Big companies are so financially powerful that governments are afraid to take them on.

  其次,在美国等国家,公司是政治活动的主要金主,而政客自己往往是公司的部分所有者,或至少不声不响地从公司利润中获取着好处。美国国会议员中大约有一半是百万富翁,且很多在他们进入国会前就与公司关系甚密了。
Second, companies are the major funders of political campaigns in places like the US, while politicians themselves are often part owners, or at least the silent beneficiaries of corporate profits. Roughly one-half of US Congressmen are millionaires, and many have close ties to companies even before they arrive in Congress.

  因此,当公司行为越界时,政客们往往会视而不见。就算政府试图强化法律,公司也有应对之法——它们有律师大军围绕身畔。结果是产生了一种逍遥法外的文化,而这种文化的基础是公司犯罪一再被证明会获得丰厚回报。
As a result, politicians often look the other way when corporate behavior crosses the line. Even if governments try to enforce the law, companies have armies of lawyers to run circles around them. The result is a culture of impunity, based on the well-proven expectation that corporate crime pays.

  由于财富和权力与法律之间有着密切的联系,因此控制压制公司犯罪是一场艰难的战斗。幸运的是,现今快速普遍的信息流能够起到一定的威慑和消毒作用。腐败滋生于黑暗,而越来越多的信息可以通过电子邮件和博客(如Facebook、Twitter和其他社交网站)暴露于光天化日。
Given the close connections of wealth and power with the law, reining in corporate crime will be an enormous struggle. Fortunately, the rapid and pervasive flow of information nowadays could act as a kind of deterrent or disinfectant. Corruption thrives in the dark, yet more information than ever comes to light via email and blogs, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

  我们还需要新型政客来领导基于免费在线媒体而非付费媒体的新型政治活动。只要政客能够摆脱他们与公司赞助之间的关系,他们就能获得控制公司恣意妄为的能力。
We will also need a new kind of politician leading a new kind of political campaign, one based on free online media rather than paid media. When politicians can emancipate themselves from corporate donations, they will regain the ability to control corporate abuses.

  此外,我们需要照亮国际金融的黑暗角落,特别是开曼群岛这样的避税天堂和神秘的瑞士银行。逃税、回扣、非法酬金、贿赂和其他非法交易就是通过这些账户进行的。这一隐秘体系所带来的钱权和非法性如今已经泛滥到了威胁全球经济合法性的地步,特别是在如今收入不平等程度和预算赤字空前的时刻。而收入不平等和预算赤字之所以空前,乃是因为政府在向富人征税方面的政治——有时甚至是操作——无能。
Moreover, we will need to light the dark corners of international finance, especially tax havens like the Cayman Islands and secretive Swiss banks. Tax evasion, kickbacks, illegal payments, bribes, and other illegal transactions flow through these accounts. The wealth, power, and illegality enabled by this hidden system are now so vast as to threaten the global economy’s legitimacy, especially at a time of unprecedented income inequality and large budget deficits, owing to governments’ inability politically – and sometimes even operationally – to impose taxes on the wealthy.

  因此,下一次当你听说在非洲或是别的贫困地区出现腐败丑闻的时候,不妨打听一下丑闻来自哪里、是谁在搞腐败。美国和其他“发达”国家没有任何权利指责贫苦国家,因为造成问题的往往是最强大的跨国公司。
So the next time you hear about a corruption scandal in Africa or other poor region, ask where it started and who is doing the corrupting. Neither the US nor any other “advanced” country should be pointing the finger at poor countries, for it is often the most powerful global companies that have created the problem.


  杰弗里·萨克斯是哥伦比亚大学经济学教授,哥伦比亚大学地球研究所主任。他还是联合国秘书长千年发展目标特别顾问 
Jeffrey D. Sachs is Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals
 



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