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Csr And Psychopathy Essay

1792 words - 8 pages

There have been four serious financial crises and countless more corporate scandals with global implications in just the last decade. All of them driven by greed and corruption, all of them led by dynamic, charismatic business leaders who initially showed fantastic promise, innovation and financial leadership. And it seems with the most recent of these crises, many of the key players in the 2008 global recession have not only not been punished, but are still in the same positions of power and able to continue their transgressions. Here are some interesting highlights of the last decade: Enron scandal (2001): Andrew Fastow the CFO of Enron along with Kenneth Lay the Chairman ...view middle of the document...

 It involved Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac (bailout cost 224­260 billion), the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, two of the five biggest investment banks, and forced the remaining three to significantly change with Merrill Lynch being sold to BoA, and both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley forced to become bank holding companies. In addition insurer AIG was almost brought to collapse as well. Sadly, indicative of the decline in governance, not one person is brought to justice, not even the rating agencies that were clearly complicit in the fraud. While some of these crises would create legislation and governance in the U.S. to curb the ethical lapses that led to these losses with both the Sarbanes­Oxley act of 2002 and the Dodd­Frank act of 2010, it’s clear that with 23 major accounting scandals in just 2002 alone, the ethical flaws are systemic. And given that players like Henry Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs is given the US Treasury Secretary’s position but forced to liquidate, conveniently exploiting a tax­free public service loophole, $700 million of his holdings in Goldman Sachs for “compliance”, even the feeble attempts at governance have clear conflicts of interest. It is interesting to compare this to the 2006 sale of Shin Corp to Temasek Holdings which netted the Shinawatra and Damapong families $1.88 billion in a capital gains tax­free sale and led to the

ousting of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. In just 10 years, the four scandals listed above combine to create over $700 billion USD in losses, that’s the national GDP of Thailand or Singapore for more than 2 years. More than 230 million people globally or the equivalent of 76% of the population of the United States would lose their jobs by 2009 alone or 80,000 workers per day at one point. How? Why? In reading Ron Jonson’s “The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry”, journalist Ron Jonson reflects on the recently developed Hare Psychopathy Checklist and decides to use it as a litmus test for political and business leaders that have inflicted grievous damage in ethical or corrupt scandals. Ron decides to investigate former CEO Albert J Dunlap, a famous  “turnaround specialist” notorious for his ruthless corporate streamlining methods, and appropriately nicknamed “Chainsaw Al”, who had run Sunbeam­Oster into the ground with $60m in fraudulent accounting out of their $180m in revenue. Dunbar would demand and receive from the board a very large severance in addition to the $100M he had already received in compensation for only 20 months of employment. With the new Hare Psychopathy Checklist in tow, Chainsaw Al, failed the test miserably. What’s interesting to note here is that as Dunbar was being interviewed and examined through the psychopathy checklist, he consistently explained how each of the common telling psychopathic traits were not bad qualities, but clearly...

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