Sanctioning Capitalists — Protecting Capitalism. Control of Corporate Misconduct from Prosecution to Financial Settlements
Why were only few executives of big financial institutions prosecuted in the aftermath of the recent crisis? In trying to answer this common question, one uncovers a profound change in the sanctioning of market actors. Instead of criminal convictions, governments now turn to regulatory sanctions and deferred settlements to address corporate misconduct in the last decade. By analyzing recent approaches to public control over market actors, I show that financial fines reflect deference to market logics over government authority in our moral economy. Only market power confers sanctioning power through settlements. Moreover, the sums extracted from financial institutions may appear important, but they create a strikingly different incentive structure within firms for policing misconduct. As a result, they do not help to convey the sense that government can control large corporations and contributed to the popular sentiment that capitalism is rigged in the interest of the most wealthy.
Cornelia Woll ist Professor für Politikwissenschaft an der sozialwissenschaftlichen Universität Sciences Po in Paris, wo sie am Centre d’études européennes et de politique comparée forscht.
Moderation: Prof. Dr. Sascha Münnich, Sozialwissenschaftler; Professor für Soziologie an der Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Ort: Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung, Mittelweg 36, 20148 Hamburg