Accounting

Corporate Ethics

The self-serving goals of corporate America has created a value system not only separate but in opposition to that of society. The result justifies any means by which to achieve it including the destruction of the environment as well as the financial gouging of customers and employees. This discussion examines the rationale behind corporate crimes against individuals and humanity along with possible solutions by which to stem this seemingly growing disparity of definitions between corporate and social ethics.Corporate piracy became a news item in the 1980’s when the term ‘hostile takeover’ became a part of everyday language. During this time and extending into the 1990’s, other corporate excesses including the revelations of excessive salaries for top management and substantial employee layoffs became so commonplace it was hardly worthy of news reports. These patterns of somewhat acceptable extremes culminated in contemptibly deceptive excesses which inevitably toppled corporate giants such as WorldCom, Enron, Tyco and Arthur Anderson among others in the 2000’s. Bernard Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom, is currently serving a 25-year term in prison for the part he played the $11-billion accounting fraud which caused the downfall of his company which is MCI today. Ebbers testified that he had nothing to do with the fraud but had retired two months before its collapse at about the same time the company was posting a nearly $4 billion profit. Soon after his departure, this hefty profit was shown to be a paperwork deception (Bernard Ebbers, 2005). Former Enron executives Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey Skilling and Andrew Fastow were found culpable of conspiracy in the most high profile of the cases involving corporate fraud. In 2001, the energy company filed for bankruptcy with debts totaling $31 billion which, among other ramifications, left thousands without a job, benefits or a pension fund which was squandered by the company.

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