The fear is punishment. There are those of us who are ready to say what error or sin resulted in the current mess and be willing and even eager to accept the earnest repentance of those who now see the light. The powers that be fear that to some degree, but they really fear those who are ready to finger the culprits but not accept repentance but rather inflict pain and suffering to punish them to hold them up as an example to condition them and others to fear being selfish and greedy any more.
Such punishment only leads to greater hardening of hearts however, and that's exactly what we don't need. It's unenlightened. Humanity will never rise with that mindset of punishment. It's why we have the wars and other problems. Punishment is not the solution. Rising to not doing things where others will be tempted to punish is the solution. We have to call one another to a higher and the highest standard.