Skip to content


Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Bill Steinman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah
Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

When Elites Cheat

It’s not that they are rich that bothers the rest of us. Even unearned inherited wealth isn’t the problem. It isn’t the legacy elite schools passing for merit, or the clubby social events. It’s not class warfare.

It’s when elites cheat. 

It’s the double standard. 

If I cheat, ‘creatively’ state my financials, fail to pay my bills or taxes, hire my incompetent brother in law, rig the time clock or the market – it’s firing and/or jail time for me. If one of the oligarchs does it, he or she should get fired and maybe go to jail too. And not a clubby jail. A real one. 

It doesn’t matter how many zeros are involved; it’s the principle of the thing. It’s not who you know that is supposed to matter in a capitalist market. It’s what you know, and what you can do.

Is this naïve? Sure. The idea of a competitive market based on merit is perhaps the most idealistic notion ever developed. 

A competitive market is, in fact, a revolutionary idea.

We should all play by the same rules. Winners can enjoy their well- earned success, and the rest of us can aspire to greater efforts, or talents, or education in the hope that eventually we too can succeed. 

It’s not rich people (or corporations) that bother us. We like winners.

It’s the cheating, stupid.


Contributing editor Elizabeth K. Spahn is a professor at New England Law | Boston. She can be contacted here.

Share this post


Comments are closed for this article!