Print this page Share

Capitalism's Achilles Heel: Dirty Money and How to Renew the Free-Market System

ISBN: 978-0-471-64488-0
438 pages
August 2005


For over forty years in more than sixty countries, Raymond Baker has witnessed the free-market system operating illicitly and corruptly, with devastating consequences. In Capitalism’s Achilles Heel, Baker takes readers on a fascinating journey through the global free-market system and reveals how dirty money, poverty, and inequality are inextricably intertwined. Readers will discover how small illicit transactions lead to massive illegalities and how staggering global income disparities are worsened by the illegalities that permeate international capitalism. Drawing on his experiences, Baker shows how Western banks and businesses use secret transactions and ignore laws while handling some $1 trillion in illicit proceeds each year. He also illustrates how businesspeople, criminals, and kleptocrats perfect the same techniques to shift funds and how these tactics negatively affect individuals, institutions, and countries.
See More

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Global Capitalism: Savior or Predator?

PART I: Illegality: We Like the Money.

Chapter 2: Playing the Game.

The Dirty-Money User Manual.

You’re in Business.

Chapter 3: Dirty Money at Work.

The Corruption Industry.

The Criminal Component: Drugs, Thugs, and Terrorists.

Global Commerce and Tax Evasion: Coin of the Realm.

Chapter 4: Magnitudes and Misunderstandings.

How Much Money?

A Failure Rate of 99.9 Percent.

Well-Intentioned Efforts.

The Patriot Act.

Dirty Money Is on the Rise.

Chasing Terrorists’ Money.

Ill-Intentioned Loopholes.

Haven and Secrecy Structure.

Falsified Pricing Structure.

We Like the Money.


PART II: Inequality: The Gap Matters.

Chapter 5: The Global Divide.

The Quintile Canyon.

Measure for Measure.

It’s an Uncertain World.

The Monkey Wrench.

Chapter 6: “I Don’t Understand” and “Don’t Tell Anyone”.


“Don’t Tell Anyone”.

Corruption—At Long Last!

Filling Western Coffers: Mum’s the Word.

Debtor’s Prison.

What If?

Intellectual Gap or Character Gap?

Chapter 7: It’s the 70 to 90 Percent that Matters.

It Can’t Last.


The Gap Matters.


PART III: Disutility: Bentham KOs Smith.

Chapter 8: The Anguish of Adam Smith.

Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Wealth of Nations.

Invisible Hand.

Das Adam Smith Problem.

The Tears of Adam Smith.

Chapter 9: The Joys of Jeremy Bentham.



Related Interests.

John Stuart Mill.


Chapter 10: Philosophy Becomes Culture.

The Great Infusion.

Twentieth-Century Utility.

Twentieth-Century Utilitarianism.

Inoperable Doctrine, Deadly Practice.



PART IV: Run It Right: Trust the System.

Chapter 11: Capitalism’s Achilles Heel.

Chapter 12: Spreading Prosperity.

Delegitimizing Dirty Money.

Tougher on Corruption.

Reining in the Support Structure.

Mispricing and Transfer Pricing.

Capitalism’s Contribution to Slashing Inequality.

“. . . When You Pay Me What You Owe Me”.

Reconstitute the World Bank.

Justice First.

Chapter 13: Renewing Capitalism.




See More

Author Information

Raymond W. Baker, after a long career in international business, is a guest scholar at The Brookings Institution and a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy, both located in Washington, D.C. He appears often on television and radio in the United States and overseas and often testifies before House and Senate committees. Baker has an MBA from Harvard, lived in Africa for many years, and has done business across much of the developing world.
See More

The Wiley Advantage

COLLEGE INTEREST: Potential college interest for business ethics and economics courses.

AUTHOR WILL PROMOTE BOOK THROUGH HIS AFFILIATIONS: Baker is affiliated with the Caux Roundtable, a group of international business leaders dedicated to new ethical leadership and cooperation. Caux will feature him at conferences and also promote book to its supporters, through its web site and newsletters.

AUTHOR DOES REGULAR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS: Baker regularly speaks at business, academic and government engagements and expects to maintain this visibility for several years to come.


See More


"...Challenging the view that financial scandal and tax dodging are isolated cases in an otherwise robust system, Capitalism's Achilles Heel shows how these 'negative externalities', as economists call them, have generated a spirit of lawlessness that threatens the integrity of the market system and the finance industry as a whole..." (The London Review of Books, 6th October 2005)

"...Baker is an ethical capitalist - at least - more so than most - his concern is the incredible rapacity and corruption of modern capitalism - a must-read for those on the left...." (The Morning Star, 28th September 2005)

“…excellent book…well-researched…” (Financial Times, 10th August 2005)

See More
Back to Top