Mostly absent from the ongoing debate over the private equity industry is any realistic assessment of its actual history. Its loudest defenders ignore the dark uses of planned bankruptcy, state subsidy, and tax avoidance by firms like Bain Capital to maintain superprofits. Without criminal violence and extortion, such conduct can be perfectly legal.
But in fostering growth – or creating jobs – it isn’t clear “just how this predatory style differs from what the mob used to call a bust-out scheme,” as observed here last January. To lillustrate the parallels, listen to these classic Mafia characters describing their traditional business practices in plain language: