To Hell in a Handbasket (via professional civilian)

In India, they are having a nation wide discussion, a debate over what can be done about corruption in that country. They have policemen who take bribes apparently as a regular part of their income. They have governmental scandals involving utterly incredible amounts of money.

Here we don’t have much of that kind of corruption. Because of this we think of ourselves as a less corrupt nation. In fact, we think highly of ourselves here in the United States.

But the kind of corruption we see here, it’s the really high quality kind. It’s legal. It’s incredibly profitable. And it conveys with complete accuracy the decay of our society and continuing decline in any level of trust for the government or business. More and more, they look more like a joint conspiracy than any attempt at the common welfare or simple profits.

Talking about business ethics is almost humorous. Almost.

James Pilant

To Hell in a Handbasket I am writing now on a dying medium. I am also using hyperbole but only just. Today Meredith Attwell Baker left her position at the FCC to take a job at NBC Universal. Her new job, strangely, is as the senior vice president of government affairs. Odd, because as one of the FCC’s four members out of five who voted in favor of the Comcast-NBC merger, I would have thought Baker already was a part of NBC’s government affairs board. Stranger still beca … Read More

via professional civilian

Responsible leadership: “move beyond the smell, sleep and newspaper test.” (via Thefutureleadershipinitiative)

There are hundreds, thousands of posts on business ethics. Only a few are thoughtful and only a very few directly deal with the philosophy of business. This is one of those.

I was very impressed. If you have any interest in business ethics philosophically, this is the best writing on the subject I have seen in many weeks.

James Pilant

“Aligning self-interest to social responsibility is the most powerful way to sustaining a company’s success,” says Starbucks’ CEO Orin Smith. A larger notion of responsibility is moving to the centre of business leadership in the 21st Century. We’re moving away from the Milton Friedman adagio “live up to the law and maximize shareholder wealth”.  Why is that? When is leadership truly responsible? And how to lead responsibly? Thomas Maak and Nicol … Read More

via Thefutureleadershipinitiative

Consumers Losing Faith in Business

The article itself from BNET is a little self paroding talking about Business as the engine of recovery that people ought to look up to and respect but worries that it will take time to regain that respect. You think! This is what happens when business ethics disappear in the search for greater profits. This is what happens when the next quarter’s profits are the only measure of success and not what kind of people we are.

For many people talking about business ethics is just a brief joke, something whose existence is as likely as the Easter bunny. We can do better. No longer can business ethics be taught as a search for ways to avoid public relations problems but a search for what is good and right in all men in all ages.

From the article: Pay is part of the problem but the discontent goes wider. Four out of five people don’t trust business leaders to put the needs of staff or shareholders above their personal interests, according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer. A similar proportion think business ethics have deteriorated.

For years the workers and middle class have been the targets of bad legislation and exploitation by increased costs from banks, internet providers, and health insurance. A vulture culture devoted to worshiping the predator is not conducive to business ethics. It is conducive to lip service and a superficial appearance of compliance with the values of society. This is a great country with an amazing history of accomplishment. We can do better.