Picture by Jessica Lucia

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up – Lilly Tomlin

Late stage finance capitalism, along with being inherently unstable due to requiring periodic crises to act as selection events, is endemically corrupt with constant fraud, back scratching and what I believe is referred to in the parlance of our time as “troughing”.

In the US the defence in a fraud trial is trying to convince a jury that because state governments couldn’t tell they were being systematically defrauded by financial institutions that was ok (HT James for that link). Seriously.

Over here Barclays systematic, long term manipulation of LIBOR during the worst financial crisis in the history of the world resulted in a fairly minimal fine which will be used to reduce the cost to other banks of running the FSA, which failed to stop it. There’s a bigger fine being paid to the US, but in total the fine probably represents about 10% of the profit generated from the two scams. If I got to keep 90% of my ill gotten gains I might take up bank robbery too.

The lenient fine isn’t particularly surprising, but the lack of prosecutions is. Turns out this is because Barclays realised there was first mover advantage in rolling over, cooperated with the authorities and did a deal with the authorities who are investigating a number of other banks for the same or similar offences: i.e. conducting massive fraud.

These are just the latest in a long, depressing line of companies such as JP Morgan , Goldman Sachs blah blah, blah blah, blah blah, blah blah.

Basically, they’re all at it and they don’t care. And they’re probably doing it with your money. So move it.