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The Short Arm of the Law 336

Posted by Soulskill
from the think-of-them-as-rough-guidelines dept.
mindbrane writes "CNN takes a look at when companies are too big for the legal system to handle. Quoting: 'Prosecutors said that excluding Pfizer would most likely lead to Pfizer's collapse, with collateral consequences: disrupting the flow of Pfizer products to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, causing the loss of jobs including those of Pfizer employees who were not involved in the fraud, and causing significant losses for Pfizer shareholders. ... So Pfizer and the feds cut a deal. Instead of charging Pfizer with a crime, prosecutors would charge a Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc. ... As a result, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc., the subsidiary, was excluded from Medicare without ever having sold so much as a single pill. And Pfizer was free to sell its products to federally funded health programs.' IBM may have cast the mold for this sort of thing in its 1970s antitrust case, but the recurrence of similar cases speaks to ongoing concerns for legal systems."
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The Short Arm of the Law

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  • by nuclearpenguins (907128) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:31AM (#31715582)
    "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

    Too bad no one listened to him.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BigSlowTarget (325940)

      Sorry, no. We do accomplish the hope listed in that quote. Any company which directly challenges the government will be slapped down. The problem is that the people running the companies have figured this out and simply move behind the scenes to take control of key elements of government important to their industry. It's subversion not war.

      • by WCguru42 (1268530)

        Sorry, no. We do accomplish the hope listed in that quote. Any company which directly challenges the government will be slapped down.

        This is a government of the people (even though it sometimes doesn't feel that way) and every time that a company isn't held to legal federal / state regulations (the banks and SEC of most recent memory) or that company bribes a member of congress (because that's what a decent part lobbying is) they are directly challenging the people of the United States.

    • by Burz (138833) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:01AM (#31715810) Journal

      ...which is a sign of a failed state. Regulatory Capture is when government agencies become run primarily for the special interests they are supposed to regulate.

      This CNN article shows how corporations can become too big to punish (which is similar to the oft cited "too big to fail"). The same conditions which put monopolistic corps and cartels beyond market accountability (lack of competition for those at the top of an industry) probably add to the effect of being "too big to nail" at the same time.

      Corporatism has emerged in our society and become monopolistic and wildly out of control. The best remedy we may have is stringent application of antitrust law (break 'em up), although other measures (such as limiting their spending and ties with the media) will probably be necessary as well.

      • by Znork (31774) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:40AM (#31716086)

        The best remedy we may have is stringent application of antitrust law (break 'em up)

        The problem in this case stems directly from pro-trust law. Without patents, there wouldn't be a problem with kicking Pfizer out of Medicare (nor would they wield monopoly-level revenue that underlies issues here ranging from buying doctors to making the legal system its bitch).

        There are much better, and vastly more efficient, ways to pay for research than these monopoly rights whose side effects are damaging to the free market, the political system and the legal system all at the same time.

        • by Blue Stone (582566) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:55AM (#31716194) Homepage Journal

          >Without patents, there wouldn't be a problem with kicking Pfizer out of Medicare

          In that case, it sounds like a better way of achieving justice would be to seize their patent assets (some or all) and then nullify them.

          • by McGiraf (196030)

            This is a very good idea. I'd vote for you, if I lived in your county and if I'd vote.

          • by shentino (1139071)

            I think eminent domain at the federal level would be quite appropriate.

            Putting a fair price on the patents however might be a bit tricky.

          • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @02:38PM (#31717578) Journal

            I have a better solution, one that provides better self regulation...

            Corporate Death Penalty.

            Corporations are a creation of the state, and exist only under permission of the state. The solution for dealing with such abuse of laws is to have the state dissolve the corporation and auction all the assets, and release all "intellectual property" back to the public as public domain.

            If we actually enforced corporate death penalty, the company's owners (stock holders) would be much more careful about how the company they own is operated.

            No company is too big to fail, and failure is the only alternative we have. The whole idea that failure is not an option is itself a really bad idea.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Opportunist (166417)

          Patents didn't keep the US from cashing in Bayer's patent for the Anthrax cure. Or, rather, give them the hint that they will invalidate it due to "national emergency" if they didn't offer the antidote at the US government mandated price.

          Why's that impossible with Pfizer?

          • It's easy to seize one specific, high profile patent. It's anthrax, damn it! If you can't seize that in a case of emergency, you can't do anything. The situation with pfizer is quite different: we're talking loads of individually "small" patents. You can't seize that portfolio without falling prey to accusations of communism.

      • although other measures (such as limiting their spending and ties with the media) will probably be necessary as well.

        You can't really do any of these things without a new constitutional amendment that says companies are not people and do not deserve human rights. SCOTUS said so, very clearly.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by korean.ian (1264578)

          SCOTUS has never reached the decision that corporations are "deserving" of human rights. A passing remark included by a court reporter in the case of Santa Clara County vs Southern Railroad is usually the basis for that belief. It is, frankly speaking, one of the most harmful beliefs in modern law.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by The Breeze (140484)

        Yeah, what happened to men like John Adams?

        "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall."

    • by eiapoce (1049910) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:20AM (#31715926)

      Easy solution, hold the CEOs accoutable for fellonies carried out by corporations. And carry also on some death penalty if needed, you'll see things change in a snap.

      • Easy solution, hold the CEOs accoutable for fellonies carried out by corporations. And carry also on some death penalty if needed, you'll see things change in a snap.

        Hey, the US can't follow China's lead, it can't execute corporate honchos.

        Falcon

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Opportunist (166417)

          Why not? It works for domestic spying, it works with limiting civil rights... ok, to a lesser degree, but how about doing the same with holding CEOs accountable, also to a lesser degree? Like, giving them a fair trial before popping their lid?

          It could be a tad bit difficult to find an "unbiased" jury, I give you that, but else...

      • by WCguru42 (1268530)

        Easy solution, hold the CEOs accoutable for fellonies carried out by corporations. And carry also on some death penalty if needed, you'll see things change in a snap.

        Better than that, because the Supreme Court said corporations have the same rights as citizens then their punishments should be the same. Through the corporation in jail, lock them down so they can't move anything around, no producing, freeze their assets, etc. for the amount of time that a typical jail sentence would last.

        Now, I know that this is a stupid idea, all those people out of jobs, all needlessly lost productivity, but maybe it will make the Supreme Court realize that corporations can't and shoul

    • by Xyrus (755017) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:25AM (#31715948) Journal

      Anyone else here think that we are not in a corporatocracy yet? Events like this are just plain fucking insulting.

      You don't even need to destroy the company. Just take every asshat involved in the fraud and lock them away for life. Or better yet, take a chunk of their patent portfolio and invalidate it, then forbid the company from downsizing anyone below a certain level/pay grade.

      Why doesn't anyone have the balls to put some HURT on these assholes? This is like punishing a two year old for sneaking a cookie by letting him keep the cookie.

      ~X~

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        Actually by keeping the cookie and looking at him kindly while trying to reason with him why it's not ok to take the cookie. What will the 2 year old learn? That he can take the cookie, keep the cookie and that you're a joker that he needn't take serious.

        Odd, I think I just realized what's wrong with our economy and our parenting at the same time...

      • by WCguru42 (1268530)

        Why doesn't anyone have the balls to put some HURT on these assholes?

        Two answers.

        1 - Nobody in congress has any spine, let alone balls.

        2 - The people who should be leveling the punishment are the people who get all the kickbacks and perks from these companies. Nobody has the guts to loss some of those free dinners and cars to do the right thing.

    • "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

      Nope, the corporate aristocracy listened to Thomas Jefferson. Now they just buy lawmakers and those who enforce the laws.

      Falcon

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:37AM (#31715632) Homepage

    And is a cop-out by prosecutors. Crimes are committed by individual people and that is who should be prosecuted for them. And no, there is no shield, exemption, or veil protecting employees of a corporation against prosecution for crimes they commit on the job.

    • by Marc_Hawke (130338) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:49AM (#31715720)

      That's what I was going to say.

      When an individual is convicted of a 'hacking' crime, the punishment is often, 'No access to computers.'
      When an male is convicted of rape, there is often a cry for him to be castrated.

      I say when an individual is convicted of mis-using his corporation and corporate power that he have it be removed from him, (as well as any profits he might have earned at the time.)

      Follow the signature trails, and get the people on both sides. The people responsible for oversight need to be held liable and the people who accepted the order need to be held liable. The further away from the central figure, the less their individual punishment would be. (However, emphasis goes UP, not down. We don't want any sacrificial lambs.)

      Instead of a whole corporation paying for the actions of it's management, the management pays, and the punishment for the corporation is simply dealing with a management shift. (Hopefully a more carefully ethical one this time.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Scrameustache (459504)

        I say when an individual is convicted of mis-using his corporation and corporate power that he have it be removed from him, (as well as any profits he might have earned at the time.)

        I say that fines should be measured in percentages rather than in numbers: Speeding ticket? You pay 1% of your wealth; Fraud? You pay 200% of the fraudulent gains; etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Are you saying that by no means should a corporation should be held as liable for crimes? This is what businesses and corporations are constantly trying to achieve, especially the big ones. Commit crimes on a large scale, and then just find some moron among your employees to use as a scapegoat. No, please, no.
      • by ffreeloader (1105115) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:09AM (#31715850) Journal

        No. That's not what he's saying. He's saying, and I agree with him completely, is that it's people making these decisions, and it's those people who need to be held responsible. Find them and execute them--figuratively speaking of course--on a regular basis and this problem of corrupt decision making inside corporations, and government regulatory agencies, will disappear in a hurry.

        Hold these jackasses accountable.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Ritchie70 (860516)

          Not necessarily figuratively.

          If a corporation's actions lead to deaths in a jurisdiction that has a death penalty for those actions if committed by a person, then the people within the corporation responsible for those actions should be eligible for that as well.

          "I was just following orders" isn't acceptable in a war crimes trial, it shouldn't be here either.

        • by elucido (870205) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:19AM (#31715914)

          If we treat Corporations as persons in any context, they must be treated as persons in every context.

      • by petes_PoV (912422)

        and then just find some moron among your employees to use as a scapegoat

        Well, it depends how high up the organisation you start looking for that "moron". I'd suggest starting at the very top and charging that individual. If they are cleared (in court) go down to the next layer ... keep on going until some "moron" can't afford a good enough lawyer to get them off, or you find the guy who was actually the most senior person responsible and nail them.

        Maybe if you can make it legal to suspend bonus payments and share dealings of all those under investigation (until someone goes t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I disagree, because it puts people between getting paid money to feed their children and walking out and getting nothing. Since corporations are "owned" in the sense that they have shareholders, I think that any corporation that commits a crime just gets partiallt or totally claimed by the state. For small infractions, say, take 20% ownership(equally from shareholders), which is a fine of millions/billions depending on the size of the company. For more serious things, the govt should just take complete o

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Entrope (68843)

        Your proposal fails to meet due process or Fourth Amendment concerns. As someone who owns 120 shares of BIGCO, why should I lose 20% of my money in the company because some branch chief bribed an Elbonian government official? (The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bars American companies from doing that kind of thing.)

      • "I was just following orders" does not work. Ever. Even when disobedience might mean death, let alone just getting fired.

        Now, if you want to pass a law requiring triple damages for employees who are discharged based on refusal to follow an illegal or unethical request, and establish a system whereby they can get that redress without a drug out court battle, I'll be behind you 100%. But if you perform the unethical act, you are responsible for doing so, regardless of whether it was your idea or not. The people who "gave the order" are also responsible, but to avoid complicity yourself, you must disobey it and blow the whistle.

        The only case where this would not be possible is if, for example, ten people are each instructed to do one thing, each of which in itself seems innocuous but when put together add up to something sinister. Since it would not be reasonable in this case for the individuals to know what they're doing is unethical, they could not be expected to disobey and/or blow the whistle. In a scenario like that, only those who developed, approved, and/or orchestrated the scheme are responsible. But most of the time, that's not the case:

        "Oh, come on, John, you know how flighty investors can get, and there's really no need to worry them. If we just count things a little differently, I'm sure we can ease their concerns..."
        "Well, sure, there is a safety flaw in the product, but at this point it appears that it would be cheaper to pay off the lawsuits than to fix it."
        "Well, we want to cut the workforce by half, but not deal with unemployment. Go find even the most minor flaws in whatever someone's doing, and say they were terminated for cause."

        Anyone who goes along with these practices is responsible for them. People need to grow a backbone. Maybe if we start throwing some people in jail, people will worry less about having to job hunt and more about doing it right. The people you're helping cheat (or in some cases even kill, see the exploding Pinto case) may have families to feed, too. There's absolutely no excuse for not blowing the whistle when you become aware of something like this.

      • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @12:19PM (#31716364)

        Why shareholders aren't punished for the actions of a corporation is completely beyond me.

        The problem with that is that you're penalizing all stockholders, even those who try to clean up the corporation. Or are you one of those who believes in guilt by association? One of the most effective ways to change corporations today is via stockholder activism [wikipedia.org]. Sure investors can use socially [wikipedia.org] responsible [greenatworkmag.com] investing [socialinvest.org] but that's what shareholder activism is. Of course my way, corporate charter revocation [sonic.net] also hurts activist investors.

        Falcon

    • IANAL, but aren't all the salespeople guilty of conspiracy? I think it might prevent this type of behavior in the future if the Pfizer sales force was gutted as a result. It would also be interesting to watch if the Pfizer legal department decides to help any one of those salespeople.

    • So it's time we treat them like persons under the law and arrest them.

    • That can backfire easily in case of "disposable" employees.

      Example: Oil gets dumped into the sea instead of disposed correctly. You want to fine the captain of the ship, if I read you right. In that case, you are breaking the captain's back without hurting the company that pretty much forces him to do so at all. They will simply hire another one. And he'll have to take the job because he needs to.

      Or, easier and more accessible example, how about speeding truck drivers?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Hatta (162192)

        If my boss tells me to kill a person, and I do, I should go to jail for murder. My boss also goes to jail for murder. Why should it be any different for employees of a corporation?

  • patents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blackraven14250 (902843) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:38AM (#31715640)
    Maybe they should rewrite the rules for big pharma so that if they're convicted of doing something outrageously illegal, the patents they own which were involved in the crime become public domain. That way, they will not risk a damn thing when it comes to marketing and promotion of their products, and there's no way that suing a company will screw up the nation's health care system.
    • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:15AM (#31715886) Homepage

      While one may not agree with the particulars, this seems like a pretty standard case of prosecutorial discretion. The reality of the law is that the maximum penalty prescribed by law - and sometimes even the minimum penalty prescribed by law - is not appropriate for the crime committed. And prosecutors plead out criminals for sentences less than those allowed by law all the time.

      And in this case, some sales agents in the army of sales agents misrepresented one product out of an arsenal of products. Ok? Of course not. Deserving of a big fine, and probably one larger than the company got? Sure.

      But cutting off access to Medicare/Medicaid for the entire company, even if it is an available legal penalty, is not the appropriate legal penalty in this case.

      The real problems here are that:

      1) The law is not appropriate. A better penalty would be loss of patent protection on a lucrative drug, or 10x profits made on the drug that was mis-marketed.
      2) Those selling drugs in a manner that can harm patients are not personally liable for their actions. If your doctor prescribes you a drug that they should know might harm or kill you, they are liable. And if a pharma rep orchestrates or participates in a sales campaign designed to hide the hazards of a drug, they should also be personally liable. If all the pharma reps knew that off-label marketing got 30 days in jail the practice would be curbed considerably.
      3) Corporations are designed to separate business assets and actions from personal assets and actions. There is value to this. But using shell corporations to protect parent corporations seems to have gotten a bit crazy.

      One and two could be fixed by competent legislation. Three is probably a ship that has sailed.

      • This case was a really badly handled one in particular, though. How the hell are you going to let someone make a 1.7 dollar profit off of doing something illegal, and when the time comes to fine them, only fine 1.2 billion?? Not including legal fees, Pfizer came out 500 million ahead because they committed a crime.

        I pretty much say that on top of the fine being larger to account for all of that profit, they lose their patent on the drug, which doesn't get sold, it becomes public domain. You played irrespons

  • Rule of Law (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:40AM (#31715656)
    By letting Pfizer get away with this the US government has set an example. There is no reason to obey the law if you have enough tentacles. They could have chosen the high-road and smacked them down and then out of the rubble a new generation of companies would have emerged that would have had reason to obey the law. No, instead corruption is institutionalized.
    • by hitmark (640295)

      basically, to many medical care eggs are in one basket market pfizer...

    • I suppose the other scenario is:

      1) government goes after Pfizer
      2) Pfizer declares bankruptcy
      3) another company comes along and acquires all of Pfizer's assets
      4) other company renames itself to Fizer
      5) ???
      6) Profit!

    • by moxley (895517)

      I agree. It's disgusting too.

  • by Manip (656104) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:40AM (#31715658)

    Can I incorporate myself? I was born a human and in our society we're second class citizens, let's look at some facts:
      - We have to pay tax
      - We have to follow the local laws
      - We have to deal with issues like morality and ethnics
      - We are second class citizens in terms of political power (even as a group)

    Also, if I put on enough weight can I become "too big to fail?"

    • by Burz (138833)

      Perhaps. But then you could be bought and made a slave.

    • That's about the closest thing to self ownership.

    • Actually, you can incorporate yourself although in the area I'm in you'll also need to have another employee to get decently priced health insurance. I know some people who do that and then add their spouse as an employee.

  • Too big to sue (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PlanetX 00 (623339) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:43AM (#31715676)
    Is this just the latest application of the Golden Rule? He who has the gold makes the rules...
  • Snow Crash, or at least it's corporateocracy setting, looks more and more plausible every day.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Obyron (615547)
      And also: Jennifer Government, by Max Berry.
    • Welcome to last century. It's just becoming so obvious that the densest people are finally realizing what's going on.

    • by Kuroji (990107)

      Plausible? Hell, where have you been the last twenty years?

      Nobody cares for cyberpunk anymore, because the corporations quietly took control. It's just not as blatant as it was in any of the games and stories; who needs standing armies when you've got lawyers?

  • Short Term (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @10:50AM (#31715726)
    However many people this will help in the short term, the precedent this has set and it's long-term implications are incredibly dangerous.
  • Many people have very valid cases that can not be dealt with simply because the costs are so great that the injured party will never have access to the justice system. And that doesn't even include the lawyer's fees. For example the documentation, research, depositions an typing may well go past $100,000 and then there is the lawyer on top of that.
    So just why is it a revelation that justice may be rare when large companies are involved? It is even mor

  • Go ahead and try them. If convicted, pull their patents and let other companies provide the product.
  • Jobs? What Jobs? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by methano (519830) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:07AM (#31715842)
    I don't think we need to worry about the Fed causing job loss by doing anything to Pfizer. Pfizer is doing a great job by themselves. Just ask the former employees of Park-Davis, Warner-Lambert, Pharmacia, Upjohn, Searle, Wyeth and too many to mention small bio-techs which were dissolved on acquisition. For chemists, Pfizer is a job loss machine.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by copponex (13876)

      Slow down there, skipper. You're under the misapprehension that Pfizer exists to make pharmaceuticals. Pfizer exists to make profit with advertising, and they happen to sell pharmaceuticals.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:14AM (#31715874)
    While an organisation may be too big to prosecute, the people in it never are. Crimes are commited by individuals and it's them who should be identified and prosecuted, not the companies they work for. The easiest way to do this is for the police to send a note (summons?) to the CEO listing the charges and stating that either he/she turns over the individuals responsible, or takes the hit themselves.

    Should clarify the mind and make directors / VPs realise that they must take responsibility for the organisations they run id they want to keep earning the big bucks.

    • by Corbets (169101)

      While an organisation may be too big to prosecute, the people in it never are. Crimes are commited by individuals and it's them who should be identified and prosecuted, not the companies they work for. The easiest way to do this is for the police to send a note (summons?) to the CEO listing the charges and stating that either he/she turns over the individuals responsible, or takes the hit themselves.

      Should clarify the mind and make directors / VPs realise that they must take responsibility for the organisations they run id they want to keep earning the big bucks.

      You had me until the "or takes the hit themselves". I'm hoping you mean "be arrested for obstruction of justice if you fail to cooperate" rather than "take punishment for a crime if you can't tell me who did it."

      You're right on the key point, though: responsibility. Just as we want to take credit for our achievements (billions in profits) we must take responsibility for our failures (i.e. crimes).

      • by petes_PoV (912422)

        You had me until the "or takes the hit themselves"

        What I meant was to be charged with the crime, themselves if no-one else comes forward (or is discovered). There is a precedent for this in vehicle crime (at least in this country, can't say about yours) where the keeper of a vehicle which has been recorded doing something naughty - but not stopped at the time (e.g. going through a speed camera or red-light camera), where the keeper gets a summons to either identify the driver or be charged[1] themself: there's no third option. Just do the same with "anonym

  • by RichMan (8097) on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:16AM (#31715894)

    Simply create new stock in the company that is owned by the government. The new stock would be a significant fraction of existing stock even to a multiple of the current existing public stock.

    1) This potential loss/shock to stock holders would have the incentive to make stock holders pay attention and keep the company from violating laws
    2) Government would be a stock holder and able to provide direction and observation
    3) Government would eventually be able to sell the stock "release from jail" and realize a profit

    Minor offenses less than 100% of stock is newly created as government stock
    Major offenses 101% of current stock is newly created at government stock, instantly making the government the majority share holder and causing 50% loss to current stock holders.
    Even higher multiples 200% etc for more grievous actions.

    This does not hurt employees, customers or any other corporate relations. It directly damages share holders and executives who are responsible for company behavior . It encourages proper oversight and control. The government eventually gets some money back for enforcement.

    • by karnal (22275)

      Employees are typically shareholders, through 401k and stock options. There's no way to not hurt employees if the company is hurt. See Enron - I know it's a wild example, but I know if my company gets into legal trouble and the stock price goes down, it can affect my stock price.

      Now, I can move my stock out and transition it to non-work-related stock, but by the time the employee catches wind of anything happening it's pretty typical for the stock to already have taken a hit.

  • by laughingcoyote (762272) <barghesthowl@exc ... m minus caffeine> on Saturday April 03, 2010 @11:28AM (#31715958) Journal
    • Identify companies which would have a catastrophic effect due to their size if they were to fail for any reason.
    • Develop a step by step plan to make an orderly split of those companies into truly independent, separate companies that are not "too big to fail". Absolutely no exceptions for any reason, even if some temporary pain will result.
    • Split them up.
    • Ensure that antitrust law is updated to prevent ever creating a "Too Big to Fail" again.
  • Prosecutors said that excluding Pfizer would most likely lead to Pfizer's collapse, with collateral consequences: disrupting the flow of Pfizer products to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, causing the loss of jobs including those of Pfizer employees who were not involved in the fraud, and causing significant losses for Pfizer shareholders

    Any other company would fill that space in an instant. As there are many competitors, and they would buy Pfizer out. And need new employees to handle the new bigger workload.

    Also, a collapse of a evil company is a GOOD thing! It is an essential part of a free market.
    Also, 90% of the products that Pfizer, Eli Lily & co sell, aren’t needed at all, since they are only symptom suppressors, taken with total ignorance of the actual causes of the diseases, that will only make people think they are health

  • Remember the Enron debacle? Aurther Anderson didn't make the "too big too fail" cut, but the banks did.

    If a financial institution gets found guilty of even on felony then they can no longer do business with the feds.

    Citibank, a few years ago, paid a 600 million dollar fine for breaking the law and "admitted no wrong doing" because

    if they had admitted any wrong doing and been convicted of a felony, goodbye Citibank.

    No institution should be so big it can break the law with impunity. The "company" paying a fin

  • ...now "too big to prosecute"?

    What's next, "too big to not be allowed to make laws"? I mean, 'til now they need proxies, but politicians should be wary, corporations have always been very keen on cutting corners to eliminate waste and slack.

    A corporation is essentially above the law if you cannot "afford" to hold them accountable for their crimes.

  • So the basic problem is that a large corporation is like a hydra, and can just generate a new subsidiary to be lopped off by the authorities, then move on unharmed.

    To deal with this problem, maybe the courts need a corporate decapitation remedy. The idea is that the court could impose a requirement that the entire senior executive and board of the corporation be replaced by unrelated people. The corporate identity and product line could continue, but the top leadership of the overall corporation would be fi

  • Every time I see a story like this, it reinforces the idea that there should be a hard limit on the size of corporations. Number of employees, amount of revenue, whatever. Exceed the number and we break you into tiny little pieces.

    Too big to fail means too big to exist.

  • Wish there was a way for the people to organize and pass judgement on these sorts of criminal organizations....Of course, if the people could deal with criminal organizations effectively, then we'd likely have 4/5ths of the government locked up as well...

  • Just put the people in jail, who were involved in the decision making process (the longest terms for these), and those who would, or should, know it was a crime, knew what the company was doing, and failed to block and/or report it. That should be everyone involved from the top to the bottom. If people start going to jail for their actions that manifest in crimes happening under the name of a corporation, maybe others will think about what they are doing in other cases. That won't get everyone to stop, w

When speculation has done its worst, two plus two still equals four. -- S. Johnson

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