Speaking of crime

Why murder? Why the inevitable corpse in all crime films? After all, the basic plot is almost always that Protagonist A is missing or found killed and that Protagonist B (police officer, accused innocent by-stander, or close relative/friend) sets out to discover what happened, in a life or death race with Protagonist C (perpetrator).

Why do we keep watching these things? What is there to be learnt from glimpsing, for the umpteenth time, a killer’s warped mind? Occasionally, the victim’s mind is as warped as that of the killer. So?

Each murder is a personal tragedy for the victim, of course, and for the murderer, and for anybody who deeply cared for either of them. Say a dozen people, maybe two.

On the other hand, financial crimes, whether or not they have been deemed such in court, can harm, more or less dramatically, all the tax payers in an affected country. In an article 24 January 2016 “We all want Apple to pay more tax”, the Telegraph writes:

About a month ago the bankers Goldman Sachs published a list of the biggest and richest firms in the world. The top three, in order, were Apple, Google and Microsoft – and Facebook and Amazon were also in the top 10. All these tech companies make staggering sums from an avid British population. We love this stuff. We can’t get enough of it. We buy tens of billions of pounds’ worth of American hardware, software and services – and yet these companies pay quite derisory sums in tax to the UK Exchequer: derisory, that is, when you consider how much dosh they are earning from us all.”

The article goes on to defend the practice of tax avoidance schemes. It is true that technically, the Gargantuan tax avoidance schemes hatched out by influential transnational corporations are not necessarily violations of law, but they certainly would be if the average voter/tax payer had a say in the matter. But we voters don’t see and cannot understand the intricate technicalities involved.

Worse, we lack the technical insight to see our own countries’ dirty financial linen. Speaking of Iceland again: The entire country went bust, mostly as a result of the book cooking and irresponsible investments of a few financial crooks who would probably never have been exposed had it not been for the domino effect in the wake of the Lehman Brothers.

In my country, most of us hardly even noticed when the great big multinational Transocean was let off the hook a couple of weeks ago: The public prosecutor who had been pursuing Transocean for years on charges of criminal tax evasion was forced to apologise (!) to Transocean. A rather touching local article describes Norwegian legislators’ reaction as shocked and dismayed after a lecture about multinationals’ tax avoidance machinations. There’s a bad world out there, so bad that most of us think it’s just fiction.

Afterall, how can you fathom, if you run a little shop and pay your weight in gold to the taxman, that Transocean or Google or Apple can cheat and lie as much as they like as long as they have a battery of top ranking tax lawyers on their payrolls. Who can grasp there is so much iniquity in a civilised country?

Whose informed opinion weighs the most, Google’s or the voter’s? By whom is the voter’s opinion informed? Why do we prefer a film about a murder to a film about the effects of multinationals’ crooked machinations? Why don’t we even know about multinationals’ crooked machinations in spite of people’s loosing their jobs and/or homes because of them?

Whose acts, then, are the more sinister, the murderer’s or the multinationals’ crooked machinations? So lets have lots of  crime films about multinationals’ crooked machinations. We might learn something we really  need to know.