Now, the gross corruption product

by David R. Francis

from the February 07, 2005 edition

Christian Science Monitor

The names are as familiar by now as those of tennis stars: Dennis Kozlowski, former chief executive officer of Tyco International; Richard Scrushy, former boss of HealthSouth; and Bernard Ebbers, former CEO of WorldCom.

All are on trial for corporate crimes, getting news coverage each day, and prompting a few serious questions: Have American business leaders lost their moral compass? Were too few taught the Ten Commandments? Did parents and firms forget to teach ethics rules - or are executives simply targets of greater scrutiny?

Scandals have tripped up so many companies it's hard to keep track of them - from banks (Citigroup, Bank of America, Riggs) to mutual funds (Putnam, Janus Capital Group, Alliance Capital Management, and others). Mutual funds have paid more than $2.5 billion to settle charges. Marsh & McLennan Cos., a huge insurance broker, agreed last week to pay $850 million to avoid going to trial for fraud. If the annual revenues of companies tainted by scandal were assembled into a gross corruption product, it would top $1 trillion. "We have been through a tsunami in terms of ethics," says Keith Darcy, head of the Ethics Officer Association in Waltham, Mass. ... Read the rest at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0207/p17s01-wmgn.html

copyright Virginia Metze


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