The corporate crime wave

Cowboy hat By Jim Hightower and Phillip Frazer - Mon., 8/6/12
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Four out of five Americans have little-to-zero trust in big banks. Sixty-two percent of us believe corruption is widespread across corporate America, and three-fourths of us sense that business corruption has increased in the past three years. And it's not surprising...

Just five years after scandalous greed crashed Wall Street, Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase are among the blue-chip names recently in the news for gross violations of fundamental ethics by their top executives. Yet not a single one of these felonious profiteers has had to do a perp walk. Add BP, ExxonMobil, the Cayman Island tax dodgers, and the wholesale corporate purchase of our government--and the only wonder is how even 20 percent of the public can retain any trust in these rapacious outfits.

This ethical devolution is not about a few rogues, but about a whole corporate culture of entitlement--thinking they're above both the law and common morality. Check out a recent survey of 500 senior financial executives. A hundred-and-twenty-five of them--one-fourth!--said they thought that engaging in unethical or illegal behavior on the job was sometimes necessary to be successful. Twenty-six percent said they had firsthand knowledge of executive wrongdoing, and 30 percent said the way they get paid creates incentives to violate ethical standards and the law.

If this crime wave consisted of simple street robberies, Washington would declare martial law! But even if they're caught, these bankster muggers get off with a corporate fine. The scandal will keep spreading --until someone has the guts to start jailing the culprits.

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