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Wall Street on Trial: A Corrupted State?


The politics of business have become the business of politics. Across the world the lesson is clear: just as too much governmental interference leads to dysfunctional economies, left to its own devices the market is incapable of adequate self-regulation.

The corporate malfeasance crisis in the United States has transformed global perceptions about the efficacy of regulatory structures in combating corrupt practices in private and public sectors. The design of effective corporate governance structures depends not just on internal factors but also on the inter-relationship between various actors that constitute wider governance: politicians, lobbyists, corporations and regulators.

Wall Street on Trial: A Corrupted State breaks new ground by deconstructing the systemic flaws inherent in the model itself. It reveals that the 'rotten apple' theory, positing the problems in corporate America as merely the result of deviancy by an individual or a single firm, is an intellectual deceit not supported by the facts.

Dr Justin O'Brien is Senior Fellow at the Institute of Governance, Public Policy and Social Research, Queen's University, Belfast. A specialist in corporate governance and political corruption, he is the author of The Modern Prince, the acclaimed biography of Charles Haughey. Before transferring to academia, Dr O'Brien was an investigative current affairs journalist with the BBC, RTE and UTV, where his last position was Editor, Current Affairs. Married with two children, he lives in Belfast.


Introduction: the Corruption Cycle.

1. Assessing Guilt: the Wall Street shakedown.

2. Power Failure: the fall of Enron.

3. An Appalling Vista: the Rogue of Rhode Island.

4. Lynching Merrill.

5. Enforcing the enforcers: the politics of business.

6. Corporate politics: the buying of power.

7. From Chicago to Washington via New York and Baghdad.