DRUG MONEY IS DIRTY.  WHAT DOES "LAUNDERING" IT MEAN?

We can use money orders to send money overseas.  Our overseas maximum is $1,500    The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC, a British bank from colonial times) had a slightly higher money maximum.  It was billions. 

BIG, RECTANGULAR BOXES OF CASH
HSBC's money came from Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and Mexico, injected into the American banking system (and into the global economy) illegally -- "laundering money".  When a bank in Mexico uses special boxes built to slide exactly through tellers' windows in order to take in the volumes of cash that their customers don't know how else to get rid of,  you know it is drug money (but  of course, they did not know). 

THE PARTICULAR STAINS WHICH MONEY LAUNDERING FIXES
If you are in the ruling family of a country, it may be easy to "ask" the Treasury or national bank to move millions into another account.  If you rule a drug cartel, it will certainly be easy to get millions, but it won't be in any account at all -- that's where the big boxes shoved through the tellers' windows came in.  Now both political rulers and drug kings have big-balance bank accounts, but there are two problems: 1) the money needs to be moved to an overseas country where they want to buy their third home, second yacht, first private jet.  And 2) lots of moves to accounts seemingly not owned by them ("off-shore accounts") need to be made to obscure where the money came from, and who might need to pay taxes on it.  Moving money many times to obscure origin, ownership and tax liability is what money laundering is all about.  In the end, cash will flow through the hands of a prestigious person from a prestigious bank, and everyone looks great.

It's hard work covering your trail.  Over $800 million of the Mexican dollars were documented well enough to prosecute the bank,  yet nobody went to jail.  The ability of people with power to protect themselves from the law means that "the rule of law" is broken.  The society in question runs on legal injustice.  Using power to evade the law is usually done to protect wealth.  People with wealth usually want three things: to protect the wealth they have, to acquire more, and to preserve their ability to do whatever they wish with what they have.  The list does not usually include helping others. 

Remember: $1,500 in money orders for you, and billions in laundered money for them with no jail time. These white-collar criminals can move a million dollars through the international banking system for every dollar you can move with money orders.  They were never humiliated by arrest, never forced to lose social rank.  Being forced to lose social rank for harming society is called accountability.  A society which does not hold those who harm it accountable is dysfunctional.  If those who have done the harm escape the accountability by giving large sums of money to political people, and by giving large salaries to employ "retired" government people, then the society is corrupt and dysfunctional.  A dysfunctional society that is also corrupt is harder to fix.  

--jerry
J. I. Nelson, Ph.D.

Sandra Boynton 1991 FatCats
http://www.sandraboynton.com/sboynton/Introduction.html
Rev 21Sept2016