The Hilarity of Business Ethics

Katrina vanden Heuvel, in her Editor’s Cut column, today touched upon the moral (and perceptual) failings of the current business culture. Not only is what the average corporation does to its employees just Wrong, the over-inflated image of the ability and value the executive higher-ups have of themselves is just amazing.

At a non-profit organization that was undergoing a reorganization to be more along “business” lines that I worked for, an interesting memo was printed to a public printer – two corporate officers were being asked to be paid their very lucrative performance bonuses despite the fact that they missed their targets. The reason they gave? 9/11. The

It’s also important, Lapham argues, to understand–and change–the fact that “we live in a winner-takes all society, where individual achievement is honored and concepts like teamwork and community are generally ignored. There is a myth in our society that certain individuals are smarter, more motivated, get up earlier, work harder, take risks…and thereby create wealth all by themselves…We often come across successful individuals saying with a straight face ‘I never got any help from anybody.'”

Right. No-one ever changed their diapers, taught them to read, write, and do ‘rithmetic, taught them the basics of their trades, maintained their utilities (power,water, etc.), maintained the roads in their communities, got the mail to them, or anything else. They never got any help from the public sphere. Liars.