Corporate murder

First of all I want to make sure it's clear I look at murder with disgust and find it appalling. This is not about murder as an ethical issue (a pretty consensual subject) but as en economical issue.

Some murders are due to uncontrolled emotions, passion etc. There is no pecuniary incentive here. Other murders, however, are motivated by financial concerns, from the thug in the street to the guy pushing his uncle down the stairs. But how frequent are corporate murders? What is the benefit for a company to murder the CEO of another competing company to get a market? There are various possibilities:

a) it happens all the time and no one knows about it, the accident rate is just higher for CEOs
b) people are ethical, very few people actually are morally capable of committing murder
c) police and justice are efficient, the prospect of getting caught stops people from doing it, killing a CEO may help your company but it's not profitable enough to take the risk
d) the people who would commit murder don't figure the opportunity

(a) doesn't seem likely. I don't have any data to support this, it is just a gut feeling... somehow if it were true, he'd be known.
(b) is what I want to believe, what I hope is the true reason. Yet some people do commit murder, so maybe it's a combination of b and d.
(c) is what I'll discuss now

More than ever, demand for goods is very elastic and you compete with almost every business... killing a competitor may not be very useful to you. It is also possible that CEO are disposables and don't affect company revenues, or that when they do they are extremely well guarded. However, whenever there are CEO changes, the stock market reacts. Theoretically, a CEO murderer could make very profitable trades on the market, even on smaller companies whose boss is not extremely protected. The same is true for terrorism, which can be extremely cheap. Why don't we see apolitical terrorists targeting publicly traded companies for stock speculation? A few years ago in France, a group tried to get a few millions from the government by threatening to use terror... this is extremely risky, there is a money trail, they have to make their existence known etc... and the money is pocket change to what they could have been quietly making.

It seems that crime does pay, unless smartness correlates with morality, unless I am widely mistaken about the extent of crime in society, I think there is a strange puzzle here.

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Define corporate

Interesting question. Do you mean corporate murder literally in the sense that the senior management or shareholders of one firm agree to murder someone from another firm, or do you mean it more loosely in the sense of one CEO (or other executive) individually deciding to get ahead by killing a competitor. My guess is that murder conspiracies among a group are much more rare than one-on-one murders, due to the greater likelihood of information leaking out.

Another answer is that people running a firm may perceive themselves as having more to lose if they are caught, and, having already climbed the corporate ladder, may perceive themselves as being capable of competing successfully without resorting to violence.

A third answer is that the demographics of violent crime (correlated to age, race and income) probably don't match up very well with the demographics of people who own or manage businesses (although that answer is lacking in a causal explanation).

A fourth answer is to consider the effect on a firm's reputation if there is even a mere perception that a rival CEO was murdered.

Just some thoughts, anyway.

Honor Among Thieves

I have no problem whatsoever believing that corporate management is capable of murder, but their targets are probably a lot further down the pecking order than rival CEOs. It's more likely to be a perceived threat within their own organization, like a whistleblower.

Even if it were profitable

Even if it were profitable for a company to have somebody murdered, there would still have to be some agent(s) of that company willing to put themself at risk of punishment for the company as a whole.
Just another principal-agent problem since corporate murder is a public good vis-a-vis the company. It will be underproduced.

This is an interesting

This is an interesting point, but a big shareholder may still have high enough an incentive to do it. Or it maybe an outsider with a big derivative position.