Who Holds Corporations Responsible for Bad Behavior?

As per our prior post (Let the litigation begin!):

Have you ever wonder why investors and counter-parties never take heed from really ugly events? Its one of the things I have mused about, yet I’ve come up with no good answer.

My favorite example was Merrill Lynch’s 1994 bankrupting of Orange County — the nation’s most prosperous county. Merrill didn’t seem to be impacted too terribly by that; I guess the thinking was "Nothing a few 100 million in advertising can’t paper over."

What’s the thinking from the consumer point of view? "Yeah, those municipal dummies got screwed, but that would never happen to me!"

Or maybe its imputed to the specific individuals involved, and not thought of as part of the corporate culture, ala Arthur Anderson

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I’m always concerned with that. I have seen too many finance firms where the corruption flows down from the top. Too much money can bring out the worst in some people. 

Will Bear Stearns pay a price for that, or, will this be merely an issue of a few bad individuals? Or is this so widespread that EVERYONE gets painted with the same broad brush?

I have no clue at all.

What do you think?

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