The recently leaked Panama Papers reflect pretty well on America and "global capitalism". It's the corrupt, kleptocratic countries that look bad, but that's nothing new.

Consider the big names that have shown up so far on the list. With the notable exception of Iceland, these are not countries I would describe as "capitalist": Russia, Pakistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Egypt. They're countries where kleptocratic government officials amass money not through commerce, but through quasi-legal extortion, or siphoning off the till. This is an activity that has gone on long before capitalism, and probably before there was money. Presenting this as an indictment of global capitalism is like presenting Romeo and Juliet as an after school special on the dangers of playing with knives.

Since there are so few Americans named in the leak, some people have wondered if the American government is behind it. Who knows?

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