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August 01, 2011


Bud Byrd

I think we, in America, have entered a troubling period. Our very future is at stake.

Most of us have operated in the past as honest, ethical and law-abiding citizens. Most people operating within companies, governments and other institutions have, to their credit, abided by this troika of good citizenship practices. The vast majority of our people continue to hold these values and practice their beliefs (values) in all that they do.

Unfortunately, today a disturbing number of private citizens, business and government officials have concluded that they need not limit themselves to honorable, ethical and legal behavior. Many seem happy to skate by on a legal basis only. God knows there is an army of lawyers ready and willing to exploit the many loopholes enshrined in our system of laws, statutes, and regulations. For the unethical, the dishonest, It is possible to go through life undeterred while riding the razor-edge of legality.

Shading the truth, spinning context, ignoring or outright denial of the facts has become commonplace. Corrupt and illegal business and personal practices, e.g., the Madoff atrocity; a president quibbling in a court deposition about the definition of “is”; the Enron practice of manufacturing shortages to extort higher prices; a president taking our country to war under false and politically motivated, manufactured pretenses; politicians (e.g., a political party taking hostage the required rise in the debt ceiling) who seem ready to forfeit the well-being of our country to accomplish a very narrow-minded and dubious political objective ...all these are examples of the deterioration of our national character and are a deep, dire threat to our very existence as a functioning democracy.

Our country is on a fast path to banana republic status. Driving us along this pathway is the breakdown in honesty and ethics and a belief by too many of our countrymen, corporate and government leaders that if it is legal, then it is right. Nothing could be further from the truth. To be right requires the traditional dimensions of honest and ethical to be added to legal.

The News Corporation debacle is a global example of what happens when a company, a government or individual looses their moral compass.

I remain thrilled for having lived and worked for a company that had a working set of Belief's to guide the actions of management and employee alike. It is regrettable that all companies, governments and people are not so blessed.

Business Process Outsourcing

Social Reputation in the Age of Globalization is just such a post and worth a read. Without a stong ethical foundation not much else of what one possesses can be of value. It is based on trust. Without trust, we would simply be unable to act. If we were not able to trust third parties to act as we expect them to act, we would do anything to avoid getting ourselves involved with them. Yes, We need to carefully study the case of News Corp as well as similar such cases to come up with best practices.

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