Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
Earlier this month newspaper tycoon Conrad Black, the recently ousted CEO of Hollinger International Inc., was indicted by a federal court on charges of cheating the company’s U.S. and Canadian shareholders and evading Canadian tax authorities. The eleven-count indictment alleges, among other abuses, that Black and his associates fraudulently diverted more than $32 million from the company, funneling payments to themselves disguised as “non-competition” fees. Read the entire story at msnbc.com.
This comes as the latest in the string of corporate scandals that have shaken investors’ confidence in recent years and provides further proof, as if it were needed, that something is wrong with the system. Enter John C. Bogle and his latest book, The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism. Bogle, one of the heavyweights of the mutual-fund industry, here provides a hard-hitting insider’s view of the failures of the American financial system and what can be done to improve it. He argues astutely for a return to a governance structure in which owners’ capital that has been put at risk is used in their interests rather than in the interests of corporate and financial managers.
In a recent review in Forbes magazine (Nov. 14), Peter Lattman says that the book “springs to life with Bogle’s knack for presenting data in a lively, fascinating and persuasive manner…Though unsurprisingly at his strongest when laying out the failures of the mutual fund industry, he presents a very cogent analysis of such current hot-button issues as the hedge fund bubble and corporations’ faulty pension-return assumptions.”