"...Challenging the view that financial scandal and tax dodging are isolated cases in an otherwise robust system, Capitalism's Achilles Heel
shows how these 'negative externalities', as economists call them, have generated a spirit of lawlessness that threatens the integrity of the market system and the finance industry as a whole..." (The London Review of Books
"...Baker is an ethical capitalist - at least - more so than most - his concern is the incredible rapacity and corruption of modern capitalism - a must-read for those on the left...." (The Morning Star, 28th September 2005)
“…excellent book…well-researched…” (Financial Times, 10th August 2005)
From the Inside Flap
Throughout his career, Raymond Bakera tough-as-nails businessman turned scholar has been thoroughly committed to capitalism. He has seen it all, and now he offers careful analysis and gripping examples that illustrate the serious problems besetting the global free-market system. With this book, Baker provides a fascinating insider's look at the way criminals, terrorists, and businesspeople move dirty money around the world, impoverishing billions and corrupting capitalism's ideals of fair play. In this highly readable account, he links banking, commerce, law, economics, and philosophy with passionate advocacy of steps that must be taken to renew capitalism's mandate for the spread of global prosperity.
For over forty years in more than sixty countries, Baker has witnessed the free-market system operating illicitly and corruptly, with devastating consequences for scores of fragile nations. Now, in Capitalism's Achilles Heel, Bakerthe internationally respected authority on money laundering, corruption, and development issuestakes you on a fascinating journey that winds its way across the global free-market system and reveals how dirty money, poverty, and inequality are inextricably intertwined.
You'll discover how small illicit transactions lead to massive illegalities used by drug kingpins, racketeers, terrorist masterminds, and multinational corporations. You'll learn how staggering global income disparities are worsened by the illegalities that have come to permeate international capitalism. And, you'll see how distorted philosophical underpinnings appear to justify flaws in the practice of capitalism.
Drawing on his experiences throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe, Baker shows how Western banks and businesses use secret transactions and ignore laws while handling some $1 trillion in illicit proceeds each year. He also illustrates how businesspeople, criminals, and kleptocrats perfect the same techniques to shift fundsthrough transfer pricing, false documentation, fake corporations, tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, and other tricks of the tradeand how these tactics negatively affect individuals, institutions, and countries.
Can anything be done? For capitalism to succeed on a global scale, we must fight rampant lawlessness, reduce inequality, and recast the free market's supporting structures around principles of global justice. Capitalism's Achilles Heel provides a place for us to start.