Friday 3 August 2007

Stealing from the poor

Fraud definition
I've had to endure a proud tale of fraud more often than I'd like; the 'clever' thing to do is claim for much more than has been lost. One of the more famous stories was that of Ernest Saunders of Guinness, the only person in medical history to recover from Alzheimer's – presumably as a result of being let out of jail. In his instance it was insider dealing.

In both cases the excuse offered for these actions was that they were 'victimless crimes'. In both cases this was bollocks.

Insurance fraud raises the cost of insurance for everyone. Insider dealing results in pensions of a lower value than they otherwise would be. In both circumstances the people who are hurt the most aren't the rich or even the middle classes; they just stump up the extra cash. The people who really get burnt are the poor, those who can barely afford insurance as it is and end up getting less cover then they should, who contribute a bare minimum (if anything) into a pension fund that leaves them destitute when they reach old age.

So why do we tolerate it? I can think of only three possibilities:
  • There are many more anarchists in this country determined to bring down the system than previously thought.
  • People are stupid.
  • People don't give a shit.
I've only ever met one true anarchist; he lived in London and somewhat annoyingly didn't conform to the stereotype. He was also one of the most polite people I've ever met - bear in mind this was London! So that leaves either "people are stupid" or "people don't give a shit"; which one gives you the most comfort?


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