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Toxic-Sarbanes

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02/13/2005

The US government's hypocritical, ill-conceived legislation of accounting morality known as the Oxley-Sarbanes Act has sparked a "deregistration" movement among European and other non-US firms that have registered with US stock exchanges for listing of their shares. This is described in a Wall Street Journal article that reports a reversal of the US-listing trend begun over a decade ago by Mercedes-Benz (before its merger with Chrysler).

As global corporations shop for the best jurisdictions in which to manufacture, to sell, and to invite investment on favorable terms, the US is driving itself into backwater status through its government's arrogation of the accounting-standards-setting process into the very hands of those who by definition know the least about it. It's enough to tempt this despairing American to the perverse hope that competing jurisdictions may soon shoot themselves in the foot in some similar way.

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