Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

The JSE had received 57 responses to its consultation paper by the October 22 deadline and is now presumably poring over the details to identify possible regulatory changes in view of the "recent events" that wiped out hundreds of billions of hapless investors’ money. It is a noble undertaking. Sadly, it might also be pointless — the problem is systemic and the JSE and most of the respondents are likely part of it. The fact is, if you set out to create a system that would ensure huge inequality, environmental degradation and the occasional annihilation of innocent people’s wealth, it would look a lot like what we have today — a limited liability corporate structure overseen by institutional fund managers. It is a system designed to allow people to exercise power without responsibility or accountability. The comforting veneer of the corporate governance industry has allowed the system to thrive in an ostensibly democratic setting. Adam Smith, the political economist much loved by fre...

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