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This page is written for the little guy. The CEOs who are exposed for their corruption in this article are NOT very likely to read it, or to act on the basis of this data. The only one who can now save our society from the deepening moral corruption into which it is sinking is you, the average Joe or Mary, in the street, who still has the common sense to see what is happening and to recognize that you are seeing moral corruption at the very top of the social, political and business ladder.
THOSE people are not likely to change. Even when caught? They may be forced to admit they are criminals, but no one every becomes moral because of force. The history of this planet is replete with failed examples of "forced morality!" For centuries the Church has tried to force people to be moral, with threats of hell. That hasn't worked either. A new dawn is coming, based on a common sense moral code.
Force (criminal law enforcement) still is needed to stop the big guys from setting corruption as the standard, but YOU can learn the lesson from their jail sentences -- honesty IS the best policy.
A key lesson from the recent scandals is that the checks on the system simply have not worked. The honor code among CEOs didn't work. Board oversight didn't work. Self-regulation was a complete failure. But one thing has worked: law enforcement. Clearly, there are periods in history when government must step in with reasoned enforcement actions that define the boundary lines and ensure that there is integrity, transparency and fair play in the markets. (Source: WSJ Article)
Only you, a single person, freely and on your own, can adopt a common sense moral code, and only you can gently offer your ideas on morality to your friends and family. Keep in mind that I say "gently." Just as the Church has tried and failed to force people to be moral, neither can YOU force any other person to become "moral." But, you can offer these ideas gently to others, and some will accept, just as you have, the offer for this common sense moral code.
There is another reason why this is for YOU! The type of corruption you'll read about here doesn't happen next door. But what DOES happen next door is often very similar.
Joe needs a "smog check" for his car. The car fails. He is going to have to spend $175 to fix it so it will pass. He finds a "mechanic" who can give him a certificate for a "pass" for only $100 in cash -- no check. You meet him at a party one day, and brags about his "saving" $50. He seems pretty happy about it all.
The theme of this entire web site is that the immorality around you, and particularly NEAR you, can and does affect you. You get sick, or you have an accident because your neighbor is not worthy of trust.
You would also be affected if you worked for Enron, way down low, but your company went bankrupt because the bosses were not worthy of trust.
So, whether high or low, lack of honesty and a moral code -- when that is around you, you are affected.
You can do something about it.
You are going to see more and more headlines on what will be called the "end times." This biblical reference will be, itself, very common in the religious press, and even in the "conspiracy" circles. But, the truth is not all in those camps. There are aspects of truth in those stories, however.
This web site offers a different vision -- that you can be harmed by the dishonesty next door, and that you can do something about it, right now, without preaching or endangering yourself.
What cannot be denied is that dramatic events, unpredicted and beyond understanding, have occurred in recent years, with an acceleration in recent months. I'm sure you have "seen" this, and perhaps you have even "experienced" it?
I have written of terrorism -- which dumped into our consciousness to so forever change our lives.
The drug culture has been with us for many years, but recently the so-called legal drugs have more and more been exposed as harmful frauds. Even as psychiatric drugs are on the increase of usage, so are the exposes tumbling out.
Abuse of children seems to be on the rise -- at least it gets a great deal more media coverage. The murder of a little girl gets lots of media, and a trial which then convicts her killer -- more media still. There is a separate and very important issue going unreported. What was the moral atmosphere of the home from which that little girl or boy was abducted? Children get their morals from parents. Parents who are not worthy of trust are doming their children to a path through life without a compass.
We have dozens of "new diseases" which I call "invented diseases" because the doctors don't know what causes them nor how to cure them. The cure is NOT in the drug field, but much more in the field of morals and diet. What is AIDS other than a disease of moral corruption -- no matter how much those with AIDS look for a virus as cause. The virus is NOT the cause of AIDS.
The fall of the Berlin Wall was certainly unexpected, several years ago, but it was one of those "good changes." The more recent changes are exposes of wrong doing and harm to people.
The moral decay has been within the Government for decades, but the speed of exposure, lately, is increasing. Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal, here, exposing a US Government sin of more than 40 years ago -- when a polio vaccine was found to be dangerous and the danger was deliberately hidden from the millions of people who kept on getting the vaccine, for years after its dangers were known to "authorities." The astounding thing about this story is NOT the story itself, but the fact that it has appeared in the Wall Street Journal. There are other articles on this same page that told the same story -- but they were discounted because they were not published in "respectable" places!
The recent scandal about priest abuse of children -- the harm to the children gets the attention, but the harm to the Church is far greater. Man, thus, is losing another powerful force for morality. The Church, attempting to frighten people into being moral didn't succeed, but they had more success than pure barbarism -- we are approaching pure barbarism now -- with moral corruption erupting without restraint. Those who attack the Catholic Priests often have no concern for an abused child, but do want to see ANY source of morality silenced. They are succeeding, with the help of the media.
The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board put a label on another dramatic event -- he calls it the "Infectious Greed" of the American Business World. Investors have lost literally trillions of dollars in value because of corruption among the very elite of our business world -- the Chief Executive Officers who take home the multi-million salaries and from whom we had expected, at least, honesty.
Alan Greenspan is one of the most respected men in America. He has called it as he sees it -- can not you see the same in your neighbor, next door. Perhaps you don't have a national platform from which to denounce the next-door-dishonesty, but you can at least spot its existence, and even if you don't do anything, directly, you might politely decline his invitation for a barbecue! Handling immorality does not have to be dramatic, but if every person had an improved ability to spot the dishonest people around them, and then did some little thing to indicate their disapproval -- we would become a more honest nation.
Ethics and morality can not be forced onto one -- he will never become ethical because of fear -- either fear of God, fear of Hell or fear of jail. Fear can control behavior, but not morality. That has been the mistake made down through time -- confusing "controlled behavior" brought about by fear (of God, Hell, Jail), and "inner morality" where the person does something based on his own view of what he should do. The free books offered from this web site provide the opportunity for people to find a common sense moral code -- NOT one that can be enforced, but one that can be adopted by a free people!
When man's morality is gone, a government may force morality with laws. It is one of the loud demands in the popular business press even now. Laws are never as good as a society holding to and following a common sense moral code. The popular press is calling for laws -- they don't see any hope for freely chosen morality.
Corporate America will regain public trust only when the golden incentives to err are eliminated -- and corrupt execs are doing hard time (source: Business Week)
Many decades ago I was living and working in Ghana. I recall the amazement I felt when I read, for the first time, aheadline on the local paper there, "The Supreme Court Must Appear To Be Honest As Well As To BE Honest!" It was a new thought to me at the time, but it made a great deal of sense. I saw that any person or any group must create its image of morality, and that BEING moral was not enough. Thus, when some high public figure gets attacked on the basis of morality, we don't know the truth of the matter, perhaps, but we do know that the PR for that person is lacking.
People in high places, companies with large numbers of shareholders? They cannot afford any hint of impropriety -- and if it happens, there are some fast actions needed to handle -- those actions will not include defensive claims of "I didn't do it!" even when that is true. There is a technology to keeping your public image up to a level where your morality is. It is not enough, however, to BE moral, you must APPEAR to be moral.
I don't know the truth about Martha Stuart, but I do know that the dreadful stories about her APPEAR terrible. I do know that,with all her money, she has not done enough to build and protect her public image.
Federal investigators are negotiating an agreement with a Merrill Lynch & Co. trading assistant in which he could receive immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony against Martha Stewart in the ImClone Systems Inc. insider-trading case, said people familiar with the matter.
Prosecutors haven't struck a deal with the Merrill trading assistant, Douglas Faneuil. But if a pact is reached, it could be bad news for Ms. Stewart, who sold nearly 4,000 ImClone shares on Dec. 27. Ms. Stewart has said that she sold her shares because of a previously arranged agreement with her broker and Mr. Faneuil's boss, Peter Bacanovic, to sell when the price of ImClone fell below $60 a share. (source) (additional story, source, here)
The infectious greed illustrated below will, undoubtedly, all turn out to ALSO include violation of laws. Those laws did not prevent these crimes from occurring. ONLY a man's or woman's inner morality prevents him from taking that first tiny step down the path of law violation. The people who are described here, yes, violated the laws. But, long before they violated those laws they had become immoral -- probably not ONLY in their business dealings. You could expect these same people to have very loose attitudes about many other moral issues. Morality is not a single-issue item! A Moral Man is a moral man!
Part of his survival is to portray an image of morality, and to maintain that image in the face of false accusations and attack!
That first tiny step?
Mary, next door, 16 years old, promises to come to your home to baby-sit. You are going out with your husband for your wedding anniversary dinner. Your 1 year old girl is fine with Mary as a baby-sitter.
Mary comes. You leave. You finish dinner early, decide to come home instead of going to the scheduled movie. When you walk into your living room you find Mary on the couch with a boy! She has most of her clothes off!
All dishonesty is NOT at the level of Martha Stewart. It starts early and next door! If affects you in ways you may not appreciate. You will be happier when you associate with people who are worthy of trust.
Read an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on the failure of ethics in the corporate scandals that have roiled the business world during 2002.
Here is one of the big examples of infectious greed that started it all:
Former WorldCom executive Scott Sullivan, right, surrendered to federal authorities early Thursday.
Photo on right:
A pair of former WorldCom Inc. executives charged by federal prosecutors in New York Thursday are negotiating possible pleas that could result in their cooperation in the investigation, according to people familiar with the situation.
Just 37 days after WorldCom disclosed what is considered the biggest corporate accounting fraud ever, prosecutors criminally charged former finance executives Scott D. Sullivan and David F. Myers in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Manhattan with securities fraud for their alleged roles in moving around $3.83 billion in expenses to make the company look profitable. (source)
Mr. Ebbers built a tiny long-distance company into one of the world's largest telecommunications empires -- only to watch it fall. He was ousted as WorldCom's CEO in April 2002. Much of WorldCom's rise through more than 70 acquisitions is now the subject of an SEC inquiry, as is the huge loan the firm granted to cover Mr. Ebbers for margin calls on loans that he had backed with WorldCom stock. (source - WSJ)
Here is more on the same company -- when you finally get up to "irregularities" of $50 billion, you deserve a bit of attention!
WorldCom Inc., already facing civil charges for accounting fraud, said it would expand its planned financial restatement to $7.2 billion as a result of additional accounting irregularities.
The telecommunications giant, which previously planned to restate $3.85 billion for last year and part of this year, disclosed that an internal review of its accounting produced additional improperly booked items. The Clinton, Miss., company, which had warned its revision would grow, says it will have to revise its financials for the year 2000, in addition to the planned restatements for 2001 and the first quarter of 2002.
. . . .
The disclosure indicates the company inflated profits by an additional $3.3 billion starting in 1999 and continuing through 2002. The company also said it could be forced to take a massive $50 billion write-off related to goodwill -- a figure roughly double the $20 billion to $30 billion it estimated just a few months ago. (Source)
Here is another of the many examples of infectious greed, Tyco, on Wall Street:
The allegations against Mr. Kozlowski follow a wave of disclosures of CEO hubris and greed. Like other top executives who have come under fire in recent weeks, Mr. Kozlowski allegedly took advantage of the 1990s boom to help himself to a smorgasbord of financial rewards -- from undisclosed loans to fat options grants to a giant salary -- in order to transfer massive sums of wealth to himself at the expense of shareholders. But Mr. Kozlowski's brazen use of a public company as his personal cash machine looms as a particularly egregious case. (source)
In addition to news about individual companies, where the CEO walked away with millions, there were many smaller companies where THOUSANDS of executives walked away with BILLIONS. These stories stagger the imagination -- but here is that sad tale. Below is ONE example from the fascinating article, at the link, from the Wall Street Journal.
These days, Vincent Galluccio spends most afternoons at the wheel of a tractor, overseeing his $5.2 million Long Island vineyard, Galluccio Family Winery. Just two years ago, Mr. Galluccio was one of thousands of executives overseeing a different product: telecommunications.
Mr. Galluccio, 57 years old, was a top European executive of Metromedia Fiber Networks Inc., a high-flying White Plains, N.Y., telecom-network builder. As Metromedia's value soared to its peak of $31 billion, Mr. Galluccio began selling small amounts of shares. Leaving the company in 2000, he liquidated all of his holdings, for a total of about $27 million. He used the proceeds to buy the 160-acre winery known for its Chardonnays.
Metromedia has since landed in less idyllic territory: In May, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and the Securities and Exchange Commission is examining the accounting practices the company used after Mr. Galluccio's departure. Mr. Galluccio is unapologetic about his haul, having worked 18-hour days for three straight years. "My father taught me that when you play poker and win a hand, put half in your pocket and walk away from the table," he says.
. . . .
Starting in 1997, telecom insiders directly cashed out over $14.2 billion in shares, a Wall Street Journal/Thomson Financial analysis shows. Add in shares sold by venture capitalists, executives' trusts and private investment vehicles, and the number soars to roughly $18 billion.
Some of the sales by telecom insiders have been truly massive. Qwest Communications International Inc. founder Philip Anschutz sold nearly $2 billion of shares, and former chief executive Joseph Nacchio sold about $250 million. Global Crossing Ltd. founder Gary Winnick sold $734 million in shares on a $20 million investment. Global Crossing entered Chapter 11 proceedings in January and reached an agreement to be sold on Friday. (source)
And, another, Adelphia, of these all-too-common examples:
The tax probe, spearheaded by the U.S. Attorney's office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, follows last month's charges that John J. Rigas and two of his sons used the company as their "personal piggy bank" in one of the biggest cases of alleged insider dealing ever. Those charges, filed in a federal court in New York, accused the family members of illegally taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of the nation's sixth-largest cable TV company, which filed for bankruptcy-court protection in June. (source)
Here is where these Adelphia people were led off in hand-cuffs, at 6 AM in front of TV cameras.
Three members of the Rigas family that founded Adelphia Communications Corp., and two other company executives, were arrested early Wednesday morning and charged with looting the nation's sixth-largest cable-television company "on a massive scale." (source)
It is interesting to note that your common drug dealer causes harm to his area, and if it could be measured in dollars, might be very high -- how high? I doubt if you would measure a drug dealer's damage to his neighborhood at $400 million? That is the level of alleged theft by one of the CEOs above! You'll note, also, that when this drug dealer ever gets his picture in the newspaper, it bears no resemblance to the types of photos you'll find in high-society journals, and church magazines -- when these business crooks donated millions of dollars to some charity! The guy on the left is what we see of drug dealers! The guy in the upper right is what we are now being treated to on the front pages of the nation's media!
This stuff will catch up, eventually, with the evil-doers. Here is a message from Linda:
I think greed is infectious, that the more you have, usually the more you want, and it doesn't matter who your mess over to get it. I hate what has happened to people when they start getting money.
It's almost like a drug junkie, they have to have more. I feel bad that people lose their life savings because of disasters like Enron. (Source)
Here in late 2004, the corporate scandals continue to unfold. Is there no end of them?
On a Friday afternoon last month, the nation's largest insurance companies were served with subpoenas from the New York attorney general asking an explosive question: Had they ever engaged in bid-rigging?
By the next week, several of the biggest insurers told the attorney general's office they had paid kickbacks for having business steered to them and had submitted sham bids to mislead customers. Their panicked responses revealed evidence of a broad scheme of collusion and price-fixing within the $1.1 trillion insurance industry. Source
Here is another clue on the insurance fraud reference above -- and on how wide-spread the actual facts are, before the police finally close in -- but notice that these people are headed for jail -- these businessmen. DO YOU HAVE a responsibility, morally, to report such immorality when you see it?
In an e-mail exchange last Nov. 3, Geoffrey Gregory, president of ACE's casualty-risk unit, warned ACE USA's president and chief executive officer, Susan Rivera, that the way bids were being arranged "could potentially be construed as simply creating the appearance of competition."
But rather than put a stop to the phony bids, ACE began referring to them by an unrevealing in-house euphemism: "indication" bids, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation. (Source)
Here is another major morality problem:
Global Crossing Ltd., after filing for bankruptcy protection and getting delisted, now faces an investigation of its accounting practices by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Last week, the SEC asked the Bermuda-based telecommunications company for corporate documents and a letter sent by a former finance executive that raised concerns that Global Crossing and its auditor, Arthur Andersen, were misleading investors about the accounting for certain long-term leases. The company acknowledged the SEC investigation in a statement Sunday. (source) (more on Global Crossing) (more) (more) (more)
There are now so many of these multi-billion dollar "abrupt losses" that you wonder when it will end.
The big ones will end, either because the media grows weary, or we actually clean out the Fortune 500. But the man next door, or your own husband, or your daughter-in-law? Are they worthy of trust?
Your son is 14, seems to be doing well in school. He has a part-time job and shares his money with you, to help pay for food. He gives you about $25 most weeks.
He comes home very late several nights. He won't talk about it. You nag at him a bit. He comes home very late and you confront him. He gives you $1000 and tells you that he has "earned it." He doesn't want to talk about it. He goes to bed.
You happen to be behind on the rent payment, just then, and you really need the money.
You love your son and hope he's not in trouble!
Is this story about a boy's dishonesty? Or is it possible that you have failed to instill a proper set of moral values during your 14 years raising your son? The latter issue is taken up HERE. Moral values are at the very core of our daily experience. We make choices between right and wrong, or a "little bit wrong" and "a better way" -- every day. Once someone has started down the path of "slightly wrong" moral choices, if he is very smart and a hard worker, he can wind up as a headline for a new CEO corruption case. Read this entire article, read the entire web, or just click here now to ask for your free copies of a common sense moral code. Click here to find out why I'm giving these to you.
Here is one about Vivindi --- about $10 billion loss just announced.
Here is another one of the big ones about the required SEC Filing, deadline August 15, 2002. See who filed and who didn't. What showed up?
The unprecedented exercise [required SEC filing] comes as a wave of company scandals and arrests of top executives have shaken the public's confidence in American corporate governance. In a bid to help restore confidence and hold executives accountable, SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt ordered top executives in late June to attest personally to the accuracy of their companies' results for the latest quarter and for preceding periods. Legislation signed last month by President Bush made the certification requirement permanent. (source)
How can this NOT be a large issue in any future election campaign!
Big as this issue may be during an election, I assure you that it looms larger still when you begin worrying and wondering about those close to you -- are they worthy of trust? What do you DO when you decide someone close to you is NOT worthy of trust?
Virtually all cases of infectious greed relate to MONEY, but not always money in the form of stolen money. There are many in today's immoral society who steal information. Stock prices are driven up, or down, by the opinions of "investment advisors." They, in turn, get paid on the basis of the number of clients, subscribers, or just simply on the basis of how successful their predictions are. If you are an investment advisor in the field of medical drugs you might want to know, before anyone else knows, what is the latest research finding, or the opinion of the FDA on some drug that is seeking approval.
On Feb. 15, David Risk drove his black BMW into the Palm Beach Research Center and signed up as a patient in a clinical trial of a new sleep drug. Saying he suffered from a sleep disorder, he gave blood and urine samples and signed a form agreeing not to disclose anything he had learned about patients.
Five days later, Mr. Risk published a research report recommending that investors sell shares of Neurocrine Biosciences Inc., the company whose drug trial he entered. The Sterling Financial Investment Group report said one patient in the trial had a bad reaction -- a middle-aged man couldn't be roused from sleep by his wife for some time. Neurocrine stock, about $35 at the time, didn't get hit right away but slid through spring and early summer to about $23. (source)
And when scientific publications circulate advance copies of crucial studies to hundreds or thousands of people, including doctors, journalists and academics, there are plenty of mouths to whisper about findings that may affect a company's shares -- before those outside the loop get the word.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange is investigating "unusual trading activity" in options on shares of Wyeth, the pharmaceuticals giant based in Madison, N.J., which experienced a sharp increase in trading volume early this month [July 2002]. The uptick occurred days before the release of a government study by the Journal of the American Medical Association that documented a heightened risk of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, strokes and blood clots for women taking Wyeth's hormone-replacement drug Prempro for many years. (source)
Moral Corruption can, actually start ANYWHERE, but when it exists at the top of the social and political ladder, then it spreads downward like a wild-fire contagion. Moral corruption at the top almost always comes with not just a blindness to honesty and the truth, but an abhorrence of truth. The guy at the top, corrupt, will never ask for the free books offered from this web site, will never read them, and would never change his ways. No "Christian Conversion" is ever likely to get him to confess his sins. Jail will only convince him that "they" are "out to get him!" The vast right-wing conspiracy to attack Bill Clinton would be claimed by those who will never see the truth of his moral corruption. Never!
But, you, down at the bottom of the social ladder? You can also be blind to the truth -- in which case you probably will not be reading this page! You surely would not find fault with the top guys who are corrupt. I have opinions on this. They may differ from yours? I've covered that possibility HERE.
Those who find no fault with Mr. Clinton? How can they then guide their children? That is my opinion. That is NOT what the free book contains.
The guy who is corrupt, morally, cannot see corruption in others. A good friend of Bill Clinton turned his investment of $100,000 into $18,000,000 and sold out before the corruption in Global Crossing was revealed. (source)
Perhaps 50% of our nation is still able to see moral corruption, at the top or next door. That 50% is what all of society has to pin its hopes on -- for the morally corrupt are the doom of society. You who are in the "other" group? You have an obligation to yourself, to your friends and neighbors, to salvage our society. You can start by asking for your two free books, reading them.
The corruption that is being exposed in Corporate America takes on a new twist as the war in Iraq starts and as we hear more of the companies, mostly German and French, that were eagerly selling arms to the Iraqis. That is corruption obviously on the individual level of the company leaders, but also rising up the level of national governments and their leaders -- the very ones who so much resisted the US going into Iraq where we would, undoubtedly, find that THEIR companies were arming the very enemy we are now fighting.
WASHINGTON -- As our soldiers fight their way across Iraq, the world is wondering what sort of weaponry they will uncover. Outside Saddam Hussein's inner circle, no one knows for sure how many germs and poisons, how many nuclear and missile parts, may be hidden away. What we do know is the lion's share of it came from our European allies -- and some even from the U.S. It is a sad if not outrageous fact that we must wage war once again to counter an arsenal that Western companies helped create. (Source)
We have a breakdown of morals in individuals, but even now being recognized in whole nations -- power and money are at the root of this -- greed, indeed!
I think you find nothing in these books on a common sense moral code -- nothing you can disagree with. It is a non-religious code -- someone of any faith will find it quite acceptable.
Then, it will be your job to help spread the word. Those who have a bit of "sight" left in their "moral eyes" will see the need to further spread this word, and gradually we can get the planet back onto a moral footing. Here and there, perhaps, some CEO who has ALWAYS been honest can advance this cause by speaking from HIS bully pulpit!
When and as a much larger percentage of our society loses its moral compass -- say when 90% can no longer see the corruption around them, we will only, then, be able to depend on spiritual help!! Click here for my article that describes how this might come about.
The people at the top are not likely to change. Why should they? A shareholder is supposed to be an owner, a low-level employee is, in fact, a "partner." However, the top executives see that they get (not "earn") a lot of money by stiffing the others. After all only a few go to jail! Corporate crime, fancy cars, high prestige -- all go together.
"Changing the culture that led to these problems is like turning the Titanic around," says Jeffrey Bronchick, chief investment officer at Reed Connor & Birdwell, a Los Angeles money-management firm. "You have two things fighting against reform. First, you're talking about taking money away from people. Second, the way the system is set up makes change occur slowly. Boards meet, set up committees, rule on the committees findings. It'd take a long time to approve a change in the caterer for the meetings." (source)
Not to many of the country's CEOs are likely to read these pages and seek guidance on a common sense moral code. Who reads these pages? They guy or girl who worked at WorldCom, or for Ms. Stewart, etc., and who is now out of a job. What is there to say to THAT person? You?
What I say to you, with all intensity, is that YOUR position, your survival, your safety, and even your health, all of these depend on the morality of those who are close to you -- those on whom you depend for support. Every group has its own group survival. The amount of that future survival depends, among other things, on the level of morality for the group as a whole. While the guys and girls at the bottom can certainly mold that overall morality, it would seem clear, from the examples on this page, that the "corporate culture" for these companies was set at the top. This would be the predominant source of the overall reality of morality within that company. The top guy can ruin the group, once ruined he is not going to be the guy to fix it. People tend to gravitate toward the morality of the group. If you join a group and find its morals far lower than your own -- get out!
It does not mean much to Joe or Mary that they, individually, performed their jobs (at WorldCom, or wherever) with perfect honesty and integrity -- they get tarred with the morality brush wielded by the top guy! They will suffer, not because of their personal sins, but because of the sins of their CEO.
First, Joe and Mary may well just be laid off! Here is what Global Crossing did:
To cut costs, the company said it would lay off 1,200 of its 9,200 workers world-wide and will drastically pare its annual capital and operating expenses to $1 billion to $1.25 billion, from as much as $5.1 billion when it was building its now-completed world-wide fiber-optic network. Company officials said the job cuts, along with some asset sales, will save about $550 million in annual expenses.
Chief Executive John Legere said the company would renew its focus on selling to large corporations instead of relying on sales to telecommunications carriers, whose orders continue to weaken. The company sells access to its extensive fiber-optic connections. Sales to large corporations rose 35%, it said.
While the company's performance was in line with the estimates it shared with analysts last month, Wall Street's attention now is turning to how the company will support its $7.7 billion of debt in the face of a gloomy market for telecommunications services. Company officials said they soon will fall out of compliance with covenants for its bank's financing, which would force it to renegotiate the credit facility. Mr. Legere said he was confident of receiving approval from its bankers, but analysts remained concerned about any new terms.
"They're cutting staff, the sales force, all the right things to preserve liquidity," said Daniel Zito, a telecommunications analyst at New York securities firm Lehman Bros. "But ultimately, they're going to have to service or pay back the debt" taken on when the company had planned to be a larger operation. (source)
While the CEO was cooking the books, and lying in public, Joe and Mary got laid off -- "for the good of the future of the company!"
Talk about layoffs! The telecom bubble has burst, as this story tells:
Two years ago, J. Michael Dugan spread the word to his fellow optical engineers in North Texas that he was starting a company that could make them all rich. The telecommunications business was hot, and optical engineers were the hottest commodities of them all, commanding big signing bonuses and six-figure salaries. (source)
What happened to their retirement accounts -- filled with worthless stock? If they had worked for Enron, here is one example, by a single person testifying before Congress:
Enron purchased PGE in 1997, at which time all of the PGE stock we had in our accounts automatically converted to Enron stock. At first, this looked like good news for the employees. Enron was riding high, and as we saw the company officers and supervisors investing in company stock, we felt assured that our own investments were solid. As you are probably aware, by August 2000, Enron’s stock had shot up to an all-time high of $90.56. At that time, my 1800 shares were worth $163,000.
Little did those of us working hard every day to help make the company successful know what was going on at the top of Enron. We trusted management’s glowing reports of strong financial growth and opportunity with Enron. Then, in October 2001, Enron’s house of mirrors came crashing down in the largest bankruptcy in history.
There are a few things you need to understand about our § 401(k) plan to understand the impact of Enron’s collapse. First, we are free to make various kinds of investments with our own contributions, but the plan prohibits any employee under age 50 from trading the company’s contributions. In other words, the company puts in its own stock, and until we reach age 50, we hold that stock. Second, until very recently, even after age 50, we could only trade 25% of the company’s contributions per year. Third, I said before that the company is committed to contributing stock equal in value to our cash contributions. The company’s practice, however, has been to purchase blocks of stock at the beginning of the year, which it then uses to match our contributions over the course of the year. In making those contributions, Enron uses the cost of the stock when it purchased it, not the value when it makes the contributions. In good years, this certainly has been advantageous. But over the course of the last year, our employer has been contributing stock worth a fraction of the contribution it is supposed to be matching.
Finally, as you all well know, we were all barred from trading our stock during a critical period this last fall. It seems strange to me that as soon as the really bad news came out on Enron, we found ourselves unable to move out of the stock. Enron suddenly changed account managers, and our investment accounts were "locked down." I have seen that Enron says we were only locked out of our accounts for ten trading days – from October 29 through November 12. But as early as September 26, my coworkers were finding that they could get access to their accounts, but they could not conduct any transactions. As the truth about Enron started to come to light – and as the officers at the top cashed out – we, the employees, had no choice but to ride the stock into the ground.
We were all somewhat hopeful that the proposed Dynegy buyout of Enron would at least give us relief in the $5-per-share range. But when Dynegy pulled out of the deal on November 28, 2001, Enron’s stock dropped below the $1-per-share range, where it currently stays. (source)
What about all the millions of other Americans working for the thousands of different companies that have pension plans in which some of their money has been invested in companies like those featured on this page?
While Enron was a company with a very large capitalization, it was one of thousands of equity investments owned by public funds and it alone could not seriously damage their financial integrity. If total losses were in fact $1.5 billion, that is less than seven one-hundredths of a percent (0.07%) of the $2.3 trillion in total fund assets. The daily swing in asset value of a fund might have been several times its Enron exposure. Any such loss, of course, stings, but the effect of Enron must be looked at in relation to the fiscal strength garnered by public funds over the years and their future prospects.
As mentioned above, public funds experienced an extended period of above-average portfolio returns through 1999. In the fiscal year ended June 30, 2000 (most public funds have June fiscal years), the S&P 500 index, a measure of domestic equities, gained only 6.0% after four years of increases exceeding 20% and at least 17 years of averaging double-digit increases. In fiscal 2001, the S&P 500 fell 15.8%. This decrease, if applied to total public pension fund domestic equity assets ($2.3 trillion times the approximate 50% allocation to domestic equities) would represent a decline in market value for that asset class of about $172.5 billion, dwarfing the Enron loss.(source)
The public is understandably upset with all this infectious greed. Congress passed a law to discourage CEOs from cooking the books and then profiting from it. This has captured the casual name of the Pinocchio Law -- after the character whose nose got longer whenever he lied.
When trouble came, even when the company had to admit that its prior earnings reports were bogus, the executives who had capitalized on (and often concocted) the phony reports almost invariably were able to hang onto their loot. This was not an incentive to perform. It was an incentive to steal. (source)
Interestingly enough the United States seems to be leading the way toward international morality -- at least in business! Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal about how German CEOs fiddle with the assets in their companies and draw only a yawn from government authorities. When the world sees the US more and more as the MORAL leader of the planet, we can be very proud of having charted the course.
HAMBURG, Germany -- Gerhard Schmid, former chief executive officer of MobilCom AG, last year began transferring €70.9 million, or $69.5 million, from the publicly traded mobile-phone company to a firm owned by his wife. He didn't bother to inform MobilCom's board. An internal report concluded that he broke German law by failing to inform other executives and board members of those payments. So far, the money hasn't been returned to MobilCom.
The German authorities don't seem to mind. The German Financial Supervisory Authority says Mr. Schmid's actions don't fall under its jurisdiction. The chief prosecutor in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, where MobilCom is based, says there is no investigation into the matter. (source)
There is another whole concept of infectious greed I'd like to share with you. Most of the examples above are of business organizations that probably violated the laws. Many CEOs have already lost their jobs, some have been indicted and there will certainly be some who go to jail.
But, how about a company, Kellogg's cereals, for instance, that makes Corn Flakes. They then realize that of all the various breakfast cereals they sell the ones that have the most sugar sell best. In other words, children are so addicted to sugar that they very much prefer cereals high in sugar.
Parents are willing to allow their children to eat these cereals.
Is there any question that sugar in such quantities is very harmful to health? I don't think there is any question.
Morals, you see, are "good" when they enhance the survival of you and all others in some properly balanced way. Morals are bad when the survival of one is enhanced at the expense of another.
So, more and more sugar in breakfast cereal increases the survival of Kellogg's Cereals, but it sure doesn't increase the survival of the millions of children who eat the stuff.
A business which is MORAL would have to make a good profit, but not at the expense of harming its customers (or its investors). Morality requires a balance of benefit to all concerned.
When California was having an energy shortage in the early 1990's it was caused by immoral behavior -- perhaps much of that among environmentalists who wanted to benefit the animals and trees at the expense of the business firms that needed and wanted more energy.
So, California became a place where immoral politics prevented the energy industry from expanding to meet the demands of legitimate consumption.
Then, with many businesses moving OUT of California, for lack of energy, the Governor, friendly to business, beat back the forces of the environmentalists and persuaded the legislature to "put the energy business into the hands of the free market." Perhaps that could have been a good deal for all? In any event, there were then so many special (immoral) interests that the energy deregulation bill that was finally passed had so many loopholes in it that it became very easy for immoral businesses to manipulate the prices of energy, to create artificial shortages of energy, that California experienced such terrible shortages, and then such obscenely high prices that might last for only an hour or two, that the State finally had to "do something."
An immoral "fix" for the energy problem didn't work, either, and so energy consumers in California are now stuck with a tremendous multi-billion dollar debt. The State had decided that it would pay those high prices for electricity, (which greatly benefited the immoral energy traders) so that the consumer wouldn't have to (giving the consumers an immoral free ride). The final outcome, of course, is the consumers WILL be paying, with increased taxes to make up the State deficits over many, many years. Everyone lost in this, although some of the energy traders are still sitting on piles of immoral profits. Enron, one of the biggest immoral characters in this scenario, of course, had enough OTHER immorality at work that they have been bankrupted from their own internal corruption.
So, we see that any business that wants to be moral must deliver its goods and services to the consumer at a "fair" price. What is "fair?" It is that price which allows all to benefit. That is not an easy equation to figure, but the figuring of the energy traders was not difficult to see! It was immoral.
You had energy trader Joe buying energy for $1,000, selling it for $2,000 to trader Bill, who sold it for $4,000 to trader Mary, who sold it to trader Jim for $8,000 who sold it to the State of California energy buyers for $15,000. All of these trades took place within a total of 4 hours, in some cases. The different traders were located in different states.
The original supply of electricity was available at some electric plant in Southern California. The first trader was located in California. The second trader was in Arizona, the third trader was in Washington State, the fourth trader was in Oregon, -- selling "power from Oregon" into the starving California market. The traders knew exactly what they were doing. So did the State Government. The only people who were left in the dark, most of the time, were the California consumers.
California residents will be paying increased taxes for many years to compensate for energy traders' greed and government workers' stupidity.
(Incidentally, it is immoral to NOT be competent, also!)
So, the energy debacle in California has enough immorality to go around for millions of people.
It's just as immoral for a consumer to buy some product at a price that is too low.
There is a concept within the Bible, actually in the Bible many times, and even stated in opposite terms, thus apparently being contradictory -- that the son pays for the sins of his father -- etc. I am certainly not going to argue the validity, or lack of validity, of this point, but only point out that, historically, man has been aware that he might well (or not) pay for the sins of his father. That is not too much different from the situation where many thousands of "loyal and honest" employees of WorldCom, Enron, etc., pay dearly for the sins at the top of their corporate leadership. You can say it is "unfair" or you can say that it is "fate," or whatever you want to say, but I say, here on this web site, that it is what happens. You cannot be safe working within a company that has lost its moral compass!
Click Here for those bible references.
What should you do? Can you be expected to KNOW about the sins of the CEOs? Are there signs around you, in the office, in the workplace, that should tip you off about the lack of morals at the top?
The free books I offer from this web site should help you spot the moral laxity around you -- and you will then know that the sins of THEM will be visited upon you -- and that you must do SOMETHING! Start by clicking here for your two free copies of the common sense moral code.
I would not call these events the "Endtimes" or the "Last Days" but I can assure you that these phrases are increasingly in use in many religious groups. I would suggest that we are in for even more dramatic changes in the next few years.
If there ever was a time when a moral compass was needed in our society, it is NOW. Click on the "free books" link, above, and get your two free copies of a common sense moral code.
This section of this web site deals with the concept of trust and those who are not worthy of trust. You know them -- people close to you -- in your life. You know that when they say they will "do" something, that, probably, it will not be done.
Our society has many of these. You can detect those who may be affecting you directly -- get the free books. You can help others detect them. Give one of your two free books to someone who is important to you. You can buy more of these books and give them to others. You can make a difference.