Some crimes of the greedy, reckless and self-absorbed

Drawing upon Hannah Arendt's famous analysis of Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi regime, the destructive potential a modern administrative system harbors within and, of course, upon the Holocaust as a manifestation of that destructive potential, Shoshana Zuboff contends that: "The economic crisis has demonstrated that the banality of evil concealed within a widely accepted business model can put the entire world and its peoples at risk." Indeed, it can, for how might one assess a deep global economic crisis but as an systemic event that puts millions — if not billions — at risk? What also might one say about those individuals, groups and organizations responsible for the crisis? Zuboff continues by asking:

Shouldn't those businesses be held accountable to agreed international standards of rights, obligations, and conduct? Shouldn't the individuals whose actions unleashed such devastating consequences be held accountable to these moral standards?

Her answer:

I believe the answer is yes. That in the crisis of 2009 the mounting evidence of fraud, conflicts of interest, indifference to suffering, repudiation of responsibility, and systemic absence of individual moral judgment produced an administrative economic massacre of such proportion that it constitutes an economic crime against humanity.

Zuboff fails to provide a remedy for these crimes which were so neatly woven into the fabric of the modern world that they became perceptible to common folk long after the disaster began to snowball. This absence is unsurprising since the blame for the crisis properly extends to individuals, organizations and groups worldwide. We live in a globalized and globalizing world. The key problem: How might so many with so much power be brought to justice? The task is daunting. Yet parsimony in practice is possible. This potential derives from the fact that the major portion of the blame for the latest crisis falls upon the putative "masters of the universe." They earned this blame because with power comes responsibility. It is for similar reasons that countries like Great Britain and the United States deserve a special share of the blame since "[t]he use of force to configure a 'liberal' world economy (as Marx and Later Rosa Luxemburg argued) is what Pax Britannica [and later Pax Americana] was really about," according to Mike Davis (295). It is undisputable that the Western imperial powers gave shape to the modern world. Consequently they should at least be assigned responsibility for the world they have created and from which they have taken so much.

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