However, since Watergate in the early 1970s, even government officials have received punishments for their crimes, even if it appears they are not treated quite the

same. White collar crime in the United States is treated differently from crimes committed by other-than-white-collar citizens. Do you think that Martha Stewart did

“hard time” in “the big house?” Apparently, according to the September 27, 2004 report in CNN Money, Stewart was given her choice of federal institutions; but at the

last minute, her choices were narrowed, due to how accessible she would be to reporters. She ended up in the minimum security Federal Prison Camp at Alderson, West

Virginia, rather than her choice of the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution in Connecticut. Do you remember the name Bernard Ebbers? He was the CEO of WorldCom

when it was found out that he and the rest of the top managers of the company had committed fraud to the tune of a $100 billion loss to investors. Convicted of fraud

and conspiracy in 2005, he ended up here, at the Federal Correctional Complex at Oakdale, Louisiana. It doesn’t appear to be the kind of facility that fits the crime,

but white collar thieves aren’t treated like others who steal money. Older peoples’ pensions disappeared overn ight when the WorldCom scandal came to light. And these

older citizens felt their investments were safe, because they expected responsible people to do the right thing. Ebbers was convicted and sentenced; Sullivan, the CFO

was dismissed; and Yates, the Director of General Accounting who oversaw the fraud, received a sentence of one year and one day. In the August 10, 2005 article in the

online Business section of The Washington Post website, reporter Erin McClam said that Yates was responsible for $11 billion in fraud. The Business website,

the same day, posted the following quote by Yates: “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think back on my actions and regret my decisions,” he said. “I chose

the easy way out.” These actions are not part of Socrates’ “the good life.” It is everything but. In our review of Aristotle’s three kinds of justice, we finally come

to justice in exchange. Justice in exchange has to do with equality between whatever goods are exchanged. In other words, are the goods being sold being sold at a fair

price, or is the seller selling at an inflated price? The concept of “fair price” might not be a matter you are

particularly familiar with, but I believe you are and don’t know it. How much is gasoline in your town? How much is gasoline at a filling station on the Interstate

roadway? How much is gasoline near the oil refineries? And how much is gasoline in California?

Go to the U.S. Energy Information Administration website ( and look up the gas and diesel prices for 2013. Discover gasoline price information

for regions, states, and cities. In which city is gasoline the most expensive? In which city is it least expensive. Can you determine why? Do these prices indicate

city-by-city variation?

If you investigated what was on the EIA website, you would have observed how the gas prices fluctuated during the previous year. We hope that someone is worried about

justice in exchange, when it comes to setting the price of oil per barrel; but the cost of gasoline is affected by what’s going on in the world. In ancient Greece,

Athenian sensitivities regarding world events would have been regionally confined, and their reaction to regional events would have been delayed from the time of

occurrence. Today, world economies will react to worldwide events on a daily basis. And those disruptions will be evidenced in all the market indicators. But the

concern over justice in exchange isn’t always dependent on what the world is doing, but what the local market is doing. Consider the local price of gasoline. The

“fair” price of gasoline at the pump is altered locally by the persons who own the places where you get gas. For example, in a town in northern Oklahoma, the price of

gas is normally 10 cents more than 70 miles south in a larger city. So, is it unfair for local owners of gas stations to jack up prices? Well, in a free market

economy, it’s legal. But there is a limit on price-gouging. Local merchants can be held in check if local news agencies take the time to broadcast that some merchants

are inflating prices to make a quick profit. But this type of relief is not always available, and the citizens are often caught between a rock and hard place when

trying to find inexpensive fuel.

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