A Tale of the Beggar And The Billionaire

Imagine the following scenario.

In the US, a black homeless man “robs” a bank. He only takes a single $100 bill out of the wad of cash offered, because he was hungry and had to pay to stay at a detox center. Regardless, he had the good graces to return the money the day after. Net financial loss to the bank? $0. Years he was sent down to the slammer for: 15.

In another country, a billionaire fleeces the state by using offshore companies to sell his company’s oil production (and sees nothing wrong with it). Politicians and businessmen who oppose him get this nasty habit of turning up dead. Net financial loss to that country’s treasury, and ultimately taxpayers? Many billions of dollars. Years he was sent down to the slammer for: 14.

Now imagine that one of these cases becomes the focal point of universal condemnation of that country’s brutal, lawless, and authoritarian human rights regime – from Amnesty International and PACE, the US State Department and the German Bundestag, and regular scathing editorials from the biggest media titans. The country’s own liberals work overtime to campaign for the case to be overturned.

Which case would you guess I’m talking about? Surely it would be Roy Brown, the indigent beggar right? No way, sucker.

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