They say that a fool and his money are soon parted, and most
fools spend money merely to impress others. Perhaps it replaces
some basic insecurities or it creates friends. There are even
lyrics that say money talks, but financial planners say that
those who splash money, tend to splash borrowed money, or
money that has come too easy. In fact, a lot of big cars and
fancy buildings are borrowed from banks and enough empires
have crashed for us to learn.
But empires also crash because of poor business ethics,
and manipulating loopholes in the system. Remember Enron in
2001? Its founder and former chairman, Ken Lay faced fraud
and conspiracy charges, revolving around future contracts.
Of course he pleaded not guilty and shifted blame to the
finance chief and junior managers. Then he died of a heart
attack. But the finance boss had struck a bargain with prosecutors,
for a lesser sentence, and the former chief executive now
faces the brunt.
Legislators then scrambled to close the loopholes and fill
the gaps, passing the Sarbanes-Oxley Law.
But some wise person also said that illegal compliance is
unlikely to unleash moral imagination or commitment. The law
does not generally seek to inspire human excellence or distinction.
Those managers who define ethics as legal compliance are implicitly
endorsing a code of moral mediocrity for their organisationsLynn
It would seem then, that poor ethics are truthfully the
fault of senior management. Hence legislation in the making
should punish the practice of implied consent to unethical
behaviour and managements implicitly endorsing bad actions.
The recognition is based in the differentials between business
law and business ethics. Business law encompasses trade regulations,
contractual obligations, non-discrimination, sexual harassment,
quality control, taxation, etc.
What business law does not cover are things like waste control
standards, verbal abuse, intimidation of the workforce and
manipulative sales practices. These come under the banner
of business ethics.
At best, those involved in the scandals and corporate mischief
will eventually falter on a legal point and be disgraced by
virtue of man-made law. At worst, they keep up the charade
and keep shifting the blame, or ship out just before they
But sooner or later, they will be brought to book by the
universal laws of justice. In the meantime the investors get
ripped off. So you have to protect yourself.
There is no short way to wealth and financial freedom. There
is only astute money management and discipline. You cannot
succeed with cutbacks and under-the-table manoeuvres.
As a consumer, you will always have a choice of behaviour.
If the man in front of you drops a blue dollar bill, will
you pocket the bill, or pick it up and return it to him? Will
you step on the one who is falling?
Will you do business with someone whose offer is too good
to be truean unethical offer?
Will you choose to do business with someone who is cheating
someone else out of his bread and butter?
Darwins theory of evolution was never proven. The
law of the jungle does not honour the high status of man,
his morality, his sense of justice nor his quality of mercy.
The intermediary, the man in the middle is just as gullible
as the customer. And will the customer help a man who is falling
down, or will he push him further into the bottomless of pit?
So is the customer always right? And what is the song that