December 13, 2005

Excerpts: The Battle For The Soul of Capitalism - Part XII

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:09 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The Vicious Circle

The market boom and bust were based not only on the delusions of the day but on a mutation from virtuous to vicious circle—a failure of character, a triumph of hubris and greed over honesty and integrity in corporate America. It’s facile to ascribe the wrongdoing of the era to just a few bad apples, and it’s true that only a tiny minority of our business and financial leaders has been implicated in criminal behavior. But I believe that the barrel itself—the very structure that holds all those apples—is bad. While that may seem a harsh indictment, I believe it is a fair one.

Consider Reuters journalist Martin Howell’s list of 175 “red flags,” each of which describes a particular shortcoming in our recent business, financial, and investment practices. I’ve personally observed many of these warning flags, twenty-four of which are listed in Box 1.1. They amply illustrate that those in privileged positions, corporate managers, and money managers alike who ought to have known better, rather than accepting uncritically the financial machinations and hyperbole of the so-called New Era, should have been issuing instead stern warnings to investors.

link to book

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.