Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March 2: Greed - Ethics = Public Danger

By Sylvia Gurinsky

It isn't just the Bernard Madoffs of the world that have people feeling discouraged about business culture. It's the Toyotas and Johnson & Johnsons of the world.

Unbelievably, Toyota, the Old Reliable of the automotive industry, has had serious problems with many of its recent models. Recall notices are still going out and Toyota executives are still testifying on Capitol Hill, even as Toyota has (unwisely) put its ads back on the air.

Johnson & Johnson, which showed how to handle a crisis properly in 1982 when Tylenol capsules were being poisoned by a serial killer, has shown how not to handle a crisis more recently. It delayed recalls of a number of its products for months and is now under investigation regarding kickbacks concerning a prescription medication offered to nursing homes.

Government regulators have also been called to answer for actions, or inactions, in both circumstances.

But it all leads back to the same thing: Too much greed and not nearly enough ethical behavior by companies or regulators. That formula equals more danger for the public.

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