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A Philosopher’s Warning
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Corporate dishonesty: Is HP the only one?
However, reliance is only part of healthy social relationships. After all, reliance involves risks. We might entrust too much power to the people on whom we rely. Therefore, a healthy society creates a balance. As President Regan of the United States said regarding the negotiations with Russia during the cold war: "Trust but verify.
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The balance between trusting and verifying may depend on the need to trust and ability to verify. We must trust our surgeon more than a physician that provides advice; we may have to trust a money manager more than the adviser who leaves to us the final decision and execution of our transactions.
But if people in society find that the people they must trust are dishonest, needy people will avoid seeking help and society is likely to become poorer in health and in wealth. Trusting and trustworthiness are not dictated by law alone. Their balance is affected by the society's culture.
Business culture - definition of Business culture by The Free Dictionary
Culture can be viewed as a social habit. Actions or abstentions bring automatic "knee-jerk" reactions rather than the results of evaluation and debate. There are things we simply do not do in a certain culture that may be done even if prohibited in another culture.
Morality is a level of trustworthiness that protects society from depletion. However, in contrast to culture I view morality as values that are self-enforced by the acting individuals. This type of morality is the most beneficial to society because it does not require any outside coercion. It is self-enforced. I am a lawyer. Why did I write these non-law books? I did so because I began to notice in our society the deterioration of trustworthiness, the helplessness of the law, and the list of justifications for dishonest behavior. For example, "the trusting people are greedy.
Therefore, we must do it too. Otherwise, we will be the losers. After the financial crash in the United States, there emerged information about a "little dishonesty" wrapped in justifications. This little dishonesty has caused so much harm, pain and shame to so many individuals and to the country as a whole. It is interesting how the blames of investors are identical, and how many justifications to defraud investors are similar to those outlined in my book. In addition, however, there are louder voices for justifying the wrongful "semi-frauds.
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- Trust and Honesty: America's Business Culture at a Crossroad?
The road to dishonesty can be a slippery slope. One small dishonest act can lead to another, and expand overtime to a pattern of behavior, unless it is nipped in the bud. There can be arguments for allowing "small frauds. Besides the other parties can protect themselves from these "small frauds. I believed that our aim, whether or not we can achieve it, must be uncompromising. I still do.
I am even more convinced after I researched the world-wide fraud that accompanies many financial systems-Ponzi Schemes.