Friedman: ” ….we need an ethical bailout.” Editor’s Note: Where were the lawyers?

The Madoff affair is the cherry on top of a national breakdown in financial propriety, regulations and common sense. Which is why we don’t just need a financial bailout; we need an ethical bailout. We need to re-establish the core balance between our markets, ethics and regulations. I don’t want to kill the animal spirits that necessarily drive capitalism — but I don’t want to be eaten by them either.

Source:  Friedman, Thomas L., The Great Unraveling, NYT, Dec. 17, 2008

Where were the lawyers?

Twelve years ago in a court opinion dealing with some aspects of the Lincoln Savings and Loan fraud, Judge Stanley Sporkin wrote: “Where … were the … accountants and attorneys … ? … [W]ith all the professional talent involved (both accounting and legal), why [didn’t] at least one professional … [act] to stop the overreaching that took place in this case”?1 Now, there is Enron. And we are here asking the same questions, Judge Sporkin and others were asking 12 years ago. To paraphrase Pete Seeger, “When will [we] ever learn?” 

Source: Testimony of Prof. Susan P. Koniak Professor of Law Boston University School of Law February 6, 2002 before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary