Monday, January 3, 2022

RE-EDUCATION for the benefit of the communities and society?

What of those accused of corruption at at national level globally?
Are they prosecuted?
Jail time in their nation of origin?
Flight to foreign nation for avoid court trail?

The Briefing

By Martin Peers

Supported by Standard Chartered

January 3, 2022

Finally! It shouldn’t be a surprise that a jury found Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes guilty this afternoon on four charges of fraud and conspiracy. It was obviously hard for jurors to look past evidence that, for example, Holmes had doctored paperwork by adding the logos of pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer to suggest they were believers in Theranos’ technology. Holmes now faces as long as 20 years in prison.

There’s a case to be made that Holmes shouldn’t go to prison, though. After all, what would it achieve? Her career as an entrepreneur is over. After a conviction on charges of defrauding investors, it’s hard to imagine anyone would back her in another venture. The U.S. imprisons people at a far higher rate than any other country—and of course it is disproportionately people of color who are the victims, not white people like Holmes. Even so, we routinely accept prison as a penalty without thinking through the logic of whether it makes sense.

And it has to be said that there is a degree of unfairness in how Holmes has been treated. Is she the only entrepreneur who has pushed past the line of hype and exaggeration into outright falsehoods? Surely not. Holmes became a business icon, in the media as much as among some investors, because she was a young female founder—occupying a role usually played by men. That set her up for a harder fall, but it doesn’t justify a prison sentence.

In fact, it’s hard not to think of Anthony Levandowski, whose own conviction and prison sentence on trade secrets theft was wiped clean by a Trump pardon last year. The logic then, according to his supporters, was that his technical brilliance could benefit society more with him out of prison than inside of one. That was a dubious argument, for sure. And it’s a reminder of how arbitrary are our notions of crime and punishment.

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