Gael O’Brien Reviews The Documentary – “Inside Job”

From the article

While of course we know the outcome of the unfolding events Ferguson describes, his interviews with many of the players in the crisis provide additional insight into the larger question of how could so many very bright people be involved in a failure so huge? The film shows the consequences when thought capital is wrapped around the dogged pursuit of an ideology, in this case deregulation, so that conflicting data or opposing viewpoints are not allowed to interfere.

The band of men from Ivy League economics departments wielded a lot of power in the 30-year push for deregulation. They served as consultants to the industry and were selected for significant regulatory or White House advisor positions. Ferguson raises questions about their objectivity as scholars, as well as whether their integrity was compromised by conflicts of interest and accepting fees from Wall Street, or to testify before Congress, or as expert witnesses.

I’ve already written a recommendation style review of the documentary and this one is very positive as well.

You need to read it to get the full flavor of O’Brien’s prose.

James Pilant

Business Ethics Blogging Roundup, 7/6/10

The web site, Engineering Business Ethics, offers a more technical perspective on the Gulf disaster. Good read.

Shel Horowitz at Principled Profit is on vacation until mid July. Hurry back, Shel!

Ethical Houston has a facebook page. Ethical Houston is a web site dealing with ethics from the Sojourners point of view. I want those of you with facebook pages to get to that site and “like” it. Good people and good sites need support. Let’s get our best effort out there!

Gael O’Brien writing in her blog, The Week in Ethics, discusses the concept of Conscious Capitalism. (Conscious Capitalism has its own web site.)

From her blog: Companies that practice conscious capitalism aspire to more than just turning profits; Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, the Container Store and Stonyfield Farms are examples of successful companies that have a higher purpose. Their definition of stakeholder reaches beyond those who benefit directly from the company, to larger social and environmental purposes affecting society.

Chris MacDonald praises a web site from South Africa and its discussion of ethic from a risk management standpoint. I have a reblog of that up on my site.

Ethics Blogs Roundup July 3rd, 2010

Lauren Bloom has a post wondering how often British Petroleum has lied.

Gael O’Brien on the website, The Week in Ethics, has another post about British Petroleum, in which she discusses the human toll using an an example the life of William Kruse. This is some fine writing. I’d give it a look if I were you.

David Gebler writing from the web site, Free Management Library, discusses safety and costs from an ethical standpoint. Here’s a nice quote from the article:

“However, as we have seen from the fallout from the Gulf Oil Spill, the recent mine accidents in West Virginia, as well as FAA intervention on airline safety issues, relying on government identification of safety issues may no longer be a viable fall back position for companies that have greater knowledge of the issue than the government.”

Shel Horowitz writing from his blog, Principled Profit, argues against the government guaranteeing loans to private companies to build nuclear power plants. He discusses the dangers of nuclear power plants. I am astonished at the hypocrisy of people who continuously shout “free market” to drown out alternative ideas thinking that the government guaranteeing loans to private industry is anything more than corporate hands in the public till. It’s a complete rejection of capitalism. If private industry and investors are unwilling to bear the risks of building nuclear power plants, should they be built?

Ethics Blogs, Monday, June 14, 2010

Lauren Bloom blogs that employers should allow workers the freedom to deal with family problems such as illness. Currently with the great difficulty in finding jobs, there is certainly a temptation to put the hammer down. Bloom believes this is counterproductive.





Gael O’Brien discusses the World Health Organization’s problems. The WHO has been criticized for over estimating the danger of a flu pandemic and advising governments to stockpile enormous quantities of drugs as preparation. The three scientists who recommended these steps all have ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the drugs recommended. The article is long enough for a good analysis and achieves that goal. The article has links to two reports, one from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the other from BMJ (it used to be the British Medical Journal). Neither report is complimentary.

Business Ethics Blogs, Who I Follow

I currently follow the postings on the following blogs:

Chris MacDonald – The Business Ethics Blog

Lauren Bloom’s Blog

Gael O’Brien The Week in Ethics

Jonathon Tasini Working Life

Karen Fraser  Ethical Reputations

Julian Friedland Business Ethics Memo

Robert A. G. Monks

Jeffrey Seglin The Right Thing

Jeffrey Pfeffer Rational Rants

Richard Eskow Night Light

Karl Stephan Engineering Ethics Blog

Shel Horowitz Principled Profit

David Gebler Blog: Business Ethics

Ethics Roundup – Sunday – June 6th, 2010

Could British Petroleum cease to exist? Check out this article from Minyanville.

Chris MacDonald in his June 5th blog entry discusses the play between rapidly developing technological complexity and regulatory science. MacDonald quotes from Kenneth Rogoff’s article, The BP Oil Spill’s Lessons for Regulators.

Chris MacDonald in a totally successful effort to keep my off balance has a new post on June 6th. Entitled Galarraga’s Corvette, MacDonald while admitting that everyone is entitled to an opinion points out that even though tax payer dollars are involved in the company’s continued operation that doesn’t mean every corporate action should be second guessed. He says managers are there to manage. I doubt that Chris MacDonald will be very surprised (or bothered) that I don’t always agree with him but he’s dead on this time. Nit picking day to day decisions is a waste of everybody’s time and the giveaway was a shrewd PR move. jp

Dani Rodrik writing in Project Syndicate, A World of Ideas, argues that the nation-state, globalization and democracy are all incompatible with each other and that at the most we can only have two of the three. It’s a thought provoking argument.

Gael O’Brien writing on her blog, The Week in Ethics, discusses the message of John Wooden. During his lifetime, Wooden created a “pyramid of success” comprised of fifteen elements. (The diagram is included in the article.)

Edward Lotterman writing in Twin Cities dot com discusses how salaries in different currencies vary, can be compared effectively and when they can’t be compared effectively. It’s a pretty piece of writing.

Jeffrey Seglin writing in his blog, The Right Thing, tells us that Panera Bread is opening a store where you pay what you believe is appropriate for their baked goods. The new store is opening in Clayton, Missouri. Seglin is interested in your opinion. I’d go to his site and let him know. (There was only one comment when I left.)

Rod Dreher writes that the BP spill is a rolling apocalypse.

Michael Hiltzik writing on the Los Angeles Times business page discusses online privacy. He is a champion of preserving the rights of the individual and when he talks people should listen. This is an issue of considerable importance to me.

Marian Wang writing in ProPublica reports that illnesses reported by the clean up workers on the gulf coast are caused by the oil and not by the host of other possibilities the oil company or the government will cook up.

Elizabeth Warren prophecies the coming collapse of the middle class.

CEO Don Blankenship Headed For Trouble?

If you want to read a column with some teeth in it try this one from Gael O’Brien’s web site, The Week in Ethics.

Let me quote from her closing paragraph:

“The miners have been buried, their families continue to mourn. Lawsuits have been filed. Investigations are ongoing. More safety violations pile up. And if the verdict is that safety was not Massey’s sufficient priority, will this prove to be the proverbial canary in the coal mine that can lead to real change?”

That’s writing.

James Pilant

I did a search on You tube to see if I could find a video of Gael O’Brien. I discovered an utterly overwhelming amount of Irish music but no video of her. In Ms. O’Brien’s honor, I chose this (Tell Me Ma) –