All of these horrible occurances with the executives and accounting firms at Enron and WorldCom and Xerox, and I forget who else, have been on the news.
Some people say, We need better government protection!
Well, that a good idea to have. But the problem was not that what these folks did was legal. It was clearly illegal. So we already have government protection. There are all kinds of laws on the books about not lying and not stealing.
But it someone decides to lie and steal, they choose to ignore those laws.
I am concerned about the moral fiber of the people in charge of large corporations.
Isn’t it funny that we are so concerned with their dishonesty?
I guess it makes sense, because we have moved away from the system of pensions for retirement to a system of personal investments. 401Ks and investment portfolios are supposed to take the burden of responsibility off the companies and put it on the backs of individual workers.
Well, when that happened, there was a a tremendous explosion of money in the stock market. That’s what you DO when you invest, right? That’s what all the experts tell you to do anyway.
Well, now that a lot of money is in the hands of a lot of people with very little knowledge, it is easy for the execs to fudge the books. Who’s gonna know, right? And they are just trying to build up the stock…
I happened to be reading the Communist manifesto today. Just as a refresher, Marx and Engels defined the Bourgeoisie as those who employ the laborers. Sounds like Enron, WorldCom, etc.
So here are some of his earlier statements:
The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has…left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment’…It has resolved personal worth into exchange value and in indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom–free trade. In one word…it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid laborers.
I just had to look it up…indefeasible means “cannot be undone.”
Well, I find this remarkably current. Aren’t we all complaining about the way the medical system is becoming more commercialized and less concerned with healing sick people? I remember something that that Chris Rock said:
They ain’t never gonna find a cure for AIDS! There’s no money in a cure. They’ll give you a treatment. That’s how drug dealers work, they get you on the come back.
Well, when Enron, WorldCom and ESPECIALLY arthur anderson took a look at their balance sheets and their desires for profit, all the people who were affected by their deceitful schemes were merely numbers on a page. I suspect that the numbers on the page were more real to them than any person.
Nothing left between man and man than cash payment.
Personal worth reduced to exchange value.
I don’t know that much about communism. I decided to read the Communist Manifesto, because I realized that the history of the 20th century has been incredibly affected by communism and I am woefully ignorant about it.
It’s not very long, and I haven’t gotten very far into it. I may have more to say about it later.
But..My initial response to this is that we ought to give more value to non-tangible commodities. “Soft Money” as they sometimes call it.
I had the same problem when I was working in video conferencing. How do you measure the return on investment for quick communication? Everyone looked at how much it cost to upgrade communications equipment, but few people would believe that if you made it easier to talk and have meetings, that the company would be more efficient and more profitable.
It seems simple.
It also seems simple that relationships between people are of value. That honesty and diligence and dedication result in greater profitability seems basic.
I wonder if Arthur Anderson had an algorithm to track the value of the company’s honesty assets?