An essay written by Louis Even, “The Biggest Thief of All is Still at Large,” was published in the August/September 2019 edition of MICHAEL. The thief in question? The financial system which creates money as debt. The essay concluded: “The [current] financial system is a rat that lays waste: a thief, swindler and extortionist. It is all these things which leave in its wake victims suffering from want, privation and insecurity...Yet nothing is done to halt the predation of this infamous thief. It has the elected representatives of the people as its protector.”
There are laws to arrest “petty” thieves who steal hundreds or thousands of dollars, but there is no law for those who steal billions of dollars from the population, purloining a nation’s credit (the capacity for production) and then creating debt by issuing loans. Not only are these thieves not arrested, they receive protection under the law since their system of creating debt-money is legal and sanctioned by governments!
In an address to the participants at the XXth World Congress of the International Association of Penal Law, given on November 15, 2019 at the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke on the same theme as Louis Even. He lamented “the scarce attention – or lack therefore – to crimes committed by the most powerful”, even comparing the global financial system to organized crime, adding that it “exercises more power than the States themselves”. Excerpts from the Holy Father’s address follow:
“Today, some economic sectors exercise more power than the States themselves: a reality that is even more evident in times of globalization of speculative capital. The principle of profit maximization, isolated from all other considerations, leads to a model of exclusion – automatic, no? – that violently inflicts on those who suffer its social and economic costs in the present, while condemning future generations to pay for its environmental costs.
“The first thing jurists should ask themselves today is what they can do with their own knowledge to counter this phenomenon, which puts democratic institutions and the very development of humanity at risk…
“One of the frequent omissions of criminal law, a consequence of selectivity in sanctioning, is the scarce attention – or lack therefore – to crimes committed by the most powerful, in particular the macro-delinquency of corporations. I am not exaggerating with these words. I appreciate that your Congress has taken this issue into consideration.
“Global financial capital is the source of serious crimes not only against property but also against people and the environment. It is organized crime that is responsible, among other things, for the over-indebtedness of states and the plundering of the natural resources of our planet.
“Criminal law must not remain unconnected with conduct in which, by taking advantage of asymmetrical situations, a dominant position is exploited to the detriment of collective welfare… These are crimes that have the seriousness of crimes against humanity, when they lead to hunger, misery, forced migration and death from avoidable diseases, environmental disaster and ethnocide of indigenous peoples.”